Nigerian Army, NA, has reacted to the referenced story that had recently circulated on social media, regarding complaints from aggrieved officers about the Nigerian Army Welfare Housing Scheme, NAWHS.
In a statement issued yesterday, 14 May, credited to the Nigerian Army’s Director of Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Yerima, and meant to “disabuse the minds of members of the general public”, the Army posits that “the signatories who claimed to be writing on behalf of NA soldiers are fictitious names and numbers which are non-existent in the Nigerian Army records”.
TheFact Nigeria reports that on 13 May, 2021, a petition signed by number of Army officers had been in circulation, and addressed to the Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces.
The petition, which was titled Rejection Of The Proposed Nigerian Army Welfare Housing Scheme (NAWHS), was signed by 05NA/57/2084 Sgt Yusuf Shetima, 04NA/55/0925 Cpl James Ibok, 09NA/62/5578 Lcpl Dankadi Ibrahim,11NA/66/10622 Lcpl Afolabi Showumi, and 13NA/70/11034 Pte Lucky Dolph, “on behalf of the entire Non Commissioned Officers, NCO, and the Senior Non commissioned Officers, SNCO”.
In the petition, the undersigned officers had decried the deduction of “whopping sums” of money from their salaries, ranging between N15,410.30k and N49,086.49k on a monthly basis, leaving them with little or nothing to cater for their families.
According to them, “the officers of the NA are happy seeing us the NCO and the SNCO suffering all the days of our life, there can never and will never come up with a good plan that will ever benefit the other ranks instead, they prefer to cheat without regards to our suffering”.
They had called on the Federal Government, the House of Representatives, the Senate and all other stakeholders to “come to our aid and stop the Army under the leadership of Lt Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru from the proposed fraudulent plan”.
Yerima, clearing the air, explained that upon his appointment, the current Chief of Army Staff met an Army Housing Scheme in the works, and constituted a Committee to understudy its feasibility and desirability.
Questionnaires were subsequently designed by the Committee for soldiers to communicate their thoughts on the scheme, as well to ascertain those who are interested in it.
It was still at this stage of administering the questionnaires to soldiers that “agent provocateurs seized the moment to demonize the scheme with toxic narratives”.
According to Yerima, members of the Nigerian Army have established mechanisms of responding to administrative issues, and resorting to social media is not one of them.
“Any personnel caught using social media to engage the authorities will be severely dealt with. It is however curious that a scheme meant to benefit soldiers and families could be so fragantly twisted in the social media, using names and numbers that are alien to the Nigerian Army.
“The motive for this kind of strange act will ultimately be uncovered”, Yerima said.