By Timi Black
A rights group in Niger Delta, the Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative, IPDI, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and National Assembly to prevail on the Chief of Army Staff to reinstate the about 5000 soldiers dismissed for various offences in the North-East without allegedly following due process.
The call was contained in a statement by its National President of IPDI, Austin Ozobo, which was sent to Congress correspondent on Friday.
The statement read: “We have also discovered that some of these soldiers were sacked based on religious, tribal and regional sentiments without due process.
According to the statement:“We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to look into this situation, take a second look at the offences of these dismissed soldiers in the North-East from 2013 till date on theirs merit and those soldiers with minor offences and others dismissed without due process be called back to the Army service.
“We also call on the National Assembly, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila to beseech the Chief of Army Staff to avail them the number of the dismissed soldiers and their offences and ensure they are called back.
“It has been observed that a good number of these dismissed soldiers have now become bandits, some others are with Boko Haram and the ISWAP groups fighting and causing more harm against the system. They are equally training members of their new trade on weaponry.”
“Some of these dismissed soldiers who are not members of the militia groups threatening the peace of this country are also suffering hardship. They can hardly put food on their tables, their children have left school. Some of them now having broken marriages and others are now doing laborer work to survive.
“These have compounded the security problem in the country, dependents’ level have increased, arms proliferation and security threat multiplied. These indices are making the fight against insurgency difficult for the Nigerian soldiers at the war front.“Therefore, we will gladly suggest that the dismissed soldiers, numbering over 4,500 be called back to the Nigerian Army Service for peace and better security of the country.
“The Chief of Army Staff should not beclouded by religious sentiments, tribal and regional hatred. Dismissal is the last option in the military service, but many of these people were dismissed without due process.
“We reiterate that recalling these dismissed soldiers will reduce banditry and weaken the strength and manpower of the Boko Haram and ISWAP insurgence, which in turn will bring peace and calm down the insecurity uprising in the country,”.