Payment of outstanding allowances to personnel of the Nigerian Army that participated in peacekeeping operations has entered the second week.
The exercise began, howbeit late, after dispensing of necessary paperwork.”The payment had commenced even before an anonymous petition to the contrary on an online platform,” METROWATCH was told on Monday.
The source further said: “It is noteworthy that the long process of streamlining the procedure for securing funds for Peace Support Operations goes beyond the Nigerian military establishment.
“It involves the procedures and protocols of mission sponsoring agencies such as the United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS among others.”
The reliable senior military source expressed disappointment about a news item carried by the online medium, Saharareporters alleging that some unnamed army generals pocketed $43 million meant for peacekeepers, which it attributed to an anonymous petition.
“It is quite unfortunate that in total disregard for fairness and balance reportage, Sahara Reporters has rushed to the press and proceeded to publish same without taking necessary steps to inquire or hear from the relevant military authorities.
“Again, the reference to an anonymous petition as being “powerful’ by the medium is not only an attempt to be prejudicial, but a clear indication of bias in favour of the authors of the spurious petition.”
The source said since the military doesn’t want to be seen as joining issues with the press that have been very supportive to the military operation against terrorism, however, said “the Nigerian Army has never in any way denied that some troops who had concluded their tour of duty in some Peace Support Operations were yet to be fully remunerated. Nevertheless, there is no case of embezzlement as alleged in the report.”
Speaking further on the matter, he insisted that the timing of the misleading so-called powerful petition and its publication coincided with the time when the major issues are being resolved and payment has actually commenced on the basis of the order of entry or exit of the various Nigerian Contingents (NIBATTS) into the Peace Support Operations.
“The motive of the petitioners and those propagating it therefore becomes more suspect as the article went further to disparage and libel the leadership and individual officers of the Nigerian Military”, he continued.
“It is thus expedient to state that it is not in the character of the Nigerian Army to toe the path of embezzlement as the said anonymous petition or its publisher has attempted to ascribe to the leadership of the Nigerian Army or the military as an institution.
“The Nigeria Army and indeed the Armed Forces has a functional system of check and balance that does not permit the kind of sharp practice insinuated in the Sahara Reporters story.
“The instrument of discipline provided to checkmate such practices cannot be compromised as it forms the very foundation upon which the military is established. Engaging in such practices irrespective of status will naturally trigger the system of check and balance and such nefarious act cannot go undetected.”
He stated that although the Army may officially react to the publication, one unfortunately consequence of such hasty allegations this only serve to generate disaffection in the system.
While advising all officers and soldiers not to allow themselves to be swayed by this alarmist insinuations, he said the general public is should also discountenance the material as a misleading remarks on actual situation in the military.
•Additional report by PRNigeria