The Nigerian Army has recalled over 2,500 soldiers who were asked to withdraw from service for alleged offenses committed under the counter- insurgency operations code named Operation Zaman Lafiya.
The review panel set up by the Army, which began sitting in Kaduna on August 17, has also screened and reinstated 102 officers, who were sentenced or facing prosecution in relation to the operations in the North-East.
The panel has also cleared 2,500 soldiers who were dismissed from their units for minor offences alleged to have been committed under Operation Zaman Lafiya. The 2,500 soldiers were among the over 4,000 who responded to a memo from the Army authorities inviting soldiers for a review of recent disciplinary cases, which emanated from the counter terrorism operations.
The reinstated soldiers and officers who were said to have been conveyed out of the NDA, Kaduna, venue of the review panel, in luxury buses on Saturday are expected to undergo a short retraining exercise as part of the reintegration requirements into the service at the Nigerian Army Training Centre, Kontangora, Niger State.
After the retraining, the Army authorities would screen the affected personnel and re-activate their suspended bank accounts.
However, not all the dismissed soldiers who turned up in Kaduna were lucky to have regained their jobs because some of them were not eligible for the review exercise. Those that were dismissed from the service for various offences about 15 years ago and were not part of those whose cases were meant for review because they were dismissed for various offences and therefore are not part of those whose disciplinary cases are being reviewed by the committee. Consequently, they are not eligible for the ongoing review.
The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, cautioned that the directive to review disciplinary cases should not be mistaken for a “total reinstatement of dismissed and deserter soldiers.”
“This is an ongoing exercise; they want to ensure that justice is done. I cannot give you any figure, the authorities are waiting for the committee’s report; they will conclude sitting very soon,” he added.