• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Low salaries worsen economic crisis for Nigerian soldiers amid mounting security threats

Military vows payback after IPOB kills 5 soldiers in Abia State

As Nigeria grapples with mounting security threats — ranging from terrorism and banditry to kidnapping and communal clashes — its soldiers find themselves increasingly demoralised due to inadequate remuneration.

Military sources reveal that most soldiers endure meager salaries and poor welfare conditions despite the high risks and demands of their job.

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have decried the situation, particularly for rank-and-file personnel, and are calling for immediate salary increments.

The rising cost of living compounds the issue, affecting lower-ranking troops who currently receive monthly salaries ranging from N52,000 to N57,000, depending on their rank and length of service. These amounts fall far short of meeting basic daily needs, especially for soldiers who sacrifice their lives to defend the nation, the CSOs observed.

Soldiers are deployed across all Nigerian states, combating terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, separatists, and communal violence.

Operational allowances meant to cover food, transportation, and other duty-related expenses are not only paltry but also often delayed or irregular. Consequently, many soldiers resort to borrowing, begging, or engaging in petty trading to make ends meet, compromising their focus and discipline.

CSOs, including the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Transparency International (TI), and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), advocated for increased funding through better budgeting and incentives for the Nigerian armed forces.

Awwal Musa Rafsanjani, speaking on behalf of the CSOs, emphasised the need for timely and transparent payment of salaries and allowances. He called for improved living conditions, healthcare, and proper resource allocation to recognise the sacrifices made by security personnel.

Rafsanjani lamented the neglect of security workers by the political class, urging fair treatment and adequate rewards. He asserted that nowhere in the world should those who protect citizens’ safety and the country’s territorial boundaries be left unsupported.

“We call on the federal government to increase the salaries and allowances of soldiers to a level that reflects their sacrifices and contributions, ensure timely and transparent payment of salaries and allowances, and improve the living conditions and health care of soldiers and their families.

“We want this issue to be addressed. Our security men and women should be well taken care of because they are doing a lot for the safety of the citizens and the protection of the country’s territorial boundaries.

“I think it is one of the most unfortunate things in Nigeria. The security personnel and Nigerian workers have been relegated by the political class. Reasonable resources are not channelled to where they should be channelled. The security agencies, university teachers and Nigerian workers should be considered,” Rafsanjani said in an interview with Leadership.

While civil society organisations (CSOs) argue that the salaries paid to rank-and-file members of the armed forces are grossly inadequate, the National Assembly has assured that it will address the issue promptly by allocating additional funding to the armed forces if the matter is brought to its attention.

Yemi Adaramodu, the Senate spokesman, clarified that the issue has not yet been raised within the National Assembly.

However, he emphasised that if there are complaints or public petitions regarding the salaries of lower-ranking armed forces personnel, the relevant Senate Committee will diligently handle them, as deemed appropriate by the Senate leadership.

Brig-Gen Tukur Gusau, the acting director of Defence Information, confirmed that the federal government is already working toward an upward review of soldiers’ salaries.