by Idris Ibrahim,
The Ministry of Defence has finally released funds for the payment of operational allowances for Nigerian troops fighting Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east and several theatres of operation across the nation.
In a statement he issued on Monday, the Director, Army Public Relations, Sani Usman, a brigadier-general, said the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, ordered the release on Monday.
Mr. Buratai, a lieutenant general, had earlier on Sunday dispatched a ‘special message of assurance, encouragement and commendation’ to troops of the Nigerian Army engaged in operations in and outside the country.
PREMIUM TIMES in October reported how troops fighting Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east complained that they had not received their allowances in two months.
Some of the soldiers who disclosed the information to PREMIUM TIMES in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, said the situation was causing them hunger and deflating their morale.
The soldiers whose identities were withheld because they were not allowed to talk to journalists, said they were paid N30, 000 monthly as operation allowance and ration cash allowance, RCA, respectively.
In the statement he issued on Monday, Mr. Usman said the message by the army chief was sent to various formations and commanders, as well as commanders of various training institutions of the Nigerian Army on November 5.
According to the statement, Mr. Buratai assured the troops especially those on Operation “Lafiya Dole” of their welfare.
“This is coming from the good news of the release of funds for the payment of operational allowances and logistics for the Third Quarter 2017 from the Ministry of Defence,” he said.
He added that this would facilitate the payment this week of two months’ operational allowances owed the soldiers.
Mr. Buratai also showered encomiums on the troops for their “unflinching loyalty, perseverance, courage and dedication to duty which brought about the desired success in the fight against terrorism, insurgency and other criminal activities.”
He also paid tribute to the troops stationed outside the shores of Nigeria.
The statement also noted that the army chief acknowledged the patriotism, patience and understanding of the troops.
Mr. Buratai pledged that the army under his leadership would ensure that all funds meant for the troops and the “Operation Lafiya Dole” will be paid promptly as received from the appropriate ministries.