The Nigerian Army, amongst all the forces in the country is highly revered for her strong discipline and maintenance of virtue in pursuing her regular duties, especially when dealing with civilians. Thus, the recent news of the alleged indiscipline of some officers of this revered institution shades a bad light on the Army and needs to be contained.
In previous times, the Army had maintained a strong and cordial mutual relationship with the civilians through her Civil Military Relation Directorate. This Directorate was charged with responsibilities of ensuring that the cords of the relationship between the Army and the Civilians remained strong. It is factual to state that to a large extent, this Directorate rendered optimum services, as the Military Hospitals, Schools and other departments of the Army lived up to expectations in rendering quality and unequalled services to the Nigerian civilians. But in recent times, less impact is felt from this Directorate, and that has resulted to a strained relationship between the Army and the civilians.
This strained relationship, which has been left unattended to, has resulted to the tensions that is gradually rising at various quarters in the South East regarding the alleged multiple checkpoints by the Nigerian Army, which is now being used by her soldiers to extort money from citizens especially those who are traveling during this festive season.
The Multiple check points which is a result of Python Dance to maintain stronger security, peace and order in the South East by the Nigerian Army during the festive seasons is gradually ricocheting on its initial goals, as complaints from many citizens are rife on the need to check these checkpoints, since Soldiers of the Nigerian Army on duty at the checkpoints are constantly making life uneasy for the seasons, with their alleged harassments and extortions from innocent citizens.
Speaking in an interview, Aisha Edward, a media consultant who had served the Nigerian Army in the capacity of an Image Maker stated that the Nigerian Army is known for her discipline and cordial relationship with the civilians. She, however, regretted the situation of things as being alleged by the civilians in the South East.
“Having served the Nigerian Army, I am sure we are not known for this indiscipline as alleged in some quarters of the South East. The Nigerian Army I know would not hesitate to dismiss any Officer or Soldier found guilty of any form of Indiscipline. So it is surprising to see the denigrating situation in the South East, and I can positively affirm to the fact the High ranking officers in the Army, are probably unaware of this situation, because if they are, we should be hearing of dismissals of officers and Soldiers by now” Aisha said.
The Moral crusader charged the Nigerian Army to resuscitate and revitalize the Civil Military Relations of the Nigerian Army to ensure that a strong mutual understanding is reached with the civilians, as this would go a long way to ease the rough edges in protection of life and properties in the Nation. Aisha, however, called on the Civilians to be calm and not take the laws into their hands, as the Army are already making strong efforts to ensure that all complaints are tackled head-on.
Reacting to the allegations, Col. Sagir Musa, the Director Army Public Relationship 82Division clearly assuaged the rising tension, urging the civilians that the Army is still as disciplined as they have always been, and would not hesitate to dismiss any of their Soldier or Personnel found wanting in that regard. He urged civilians to report any case of indiscipline by any Personnel of the Nigerian Army to the appropriate Quarters, as such reports if corroborated with evidences shall see the Personnel court martialled and dismissed, as the Army would not tolerate any form of indiscipline from any of her Personnel.
He, however, charged Soldiers to focus on the protection of lives and properties, which is foremost the reason why they were placed in those checkpoints. He warned them to desist from any form of indiscipline, as any act which puts the Nigerian Army in bad light would not be taken likely.
Also, A Retired Group CAPT, from Dunkofia LGA ANAMBRA State adding to the comments, asked the civilians to be patient with the Military, as all forms of indiscipline would be met with strong forms of punishment to the offender, regardless of the persons rank. He urged civilians to go about their business and keep being the peace loving citizens they are known for.
It is believed that the Nigerian Army from reactions on the said allegations are already taken steps to avoid further damage on the image of the revered institution. Thus, charging her Soldiers to give their best in their duties, and not see the checkpoints as an avenue for revenue.