The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, has taken swift action by ordering an immediate investigation into the allegations of subpar feeding and welfare conditions reported by soldiers stationed on the frontlines in the Northeast region of Nigeria.
The order for investigation follows reports that soldiers from the 154 Taskforce Battalion of the Nigerian Army in the Northeast region raised concerns about inadequate meals despite an increase in their allocated feeding allowance. These soldiers claimed they were being poorly fed, with their daily meals described as inadequate and substandard.
According to the soldiers, their weekly diet consisted of bread and tea for breakfast on Mondays and Thursdays, rice for dinner, and white rice with stew served on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The remaining weekdays saw them given “concussion rice.” The soldiers also expressed frustration over the non-payment of their allowances.
Photographs shared by the soldiers revealed the dismal quality of food they were being served while stationed at their base, further underscoring their grievances.
In response to these serious allegations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, the Director of Army Public Relations, issued a statement on Tuesday affirming the COAS’s commitment to investigate the soldiers’ claims. The statement emphasized that the welfare of troops ranks among the highest priorities in the Nigerian Army under the current leadership.
The statement read, “The attention of the Nigerian Army (NA) has been drawn to a recent claim of poor feeding of troops at the frontline in the North East Theatre of operations.”
“It is crucial to point out to the general public that the welfare of troops under the present leadership of the NA takes a premium place amongst other important schemes and considerations as it is one of the vital pillars of the COAS Command Philosophy which is to provide ‘Sound Administration’ in order to ensure a highly motivated force.”
The statement continued, “The NA, therefore, takes these allegations very seriously, and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja has directed immediate investigation into the complaints to ascertain its veracity and unravel the circumstances.”
“The NA wishes to assure the public and all NA personnel that a thorough investigation will be conducted to get to the bottom of these claims.”
The statement reiterated the Nigerian Army’s commitment to transparency and accountability, emphasizing that any form of negligence or misconduct would not be tolerated. It further assured that immediate corrective measures would be taken to prevent such incidents from recurring in the future.
The NA encouraged its personnel to report any grievances or concerns they may have regarding their feeding arrangements, with established channels for feedback to address legitimate complaints effectively.