Group advocate improved welfare package for Nigerian Soldiers

CSOs calls for improved compensation for soldiers amid Nigeria’s security challenges, high cost of living

Amid escalating security challenges from terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and communal conflicts, the morale of Nigerian soldiers is plummeting due to inadequate compensation, sources within the military reveal.

Soldiers, who face high risks and demanding duties, report receiving meager salaries and enduring poor welfare conditions, exacerbating their frustration. Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have strongly criticized the low pay received by Nigerian armed forces personnel, particularly those in lower ranks, urging an immediate raise.

Concerns are mounting within and outside the military about the monthly earnings of lower-ranking soldiers, ranging from N52,000 to N57,000, which fall woefully short of meeting their basic needs amid the country’s economic challenges. These soldiers, dedicated to defending the nation from various threats, find their salaries insufficient and their operational allowances for expenses like food and transport often delayed or irregular.

CSOs like the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Transparency International (TI), and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) have voiced these concerns, calling for increased budget allocation and incentives to improve the welfare of military personnel.

Awwal Musa Rafsanjani, while speaking on behalf of these CSOs, during an interview with Leadership, expressed disappointment in the government’s neglect of the security and welfare needs of Nigerian soldiers and workers.

Rafsanjani said: “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.

He emphasised the need for proper allocation of resources and adequate reward for the sacrifices made by security personnel.

“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.

“Every now and then, our security people are killed in the course of their sacrifices to the country. There should be a good reward.

“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,” Rafsanjani added.

The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) highlighted the gross inadequacy of the N52,000 to N57,000 monthly payment for rank and file in the armed forces.

In response, the National Assembly has indicated its readiness to address the issue swiftly by allocating additional funds to the armed forces once it is formally raised.

Yemi Adaramodu, spokesperson for the Senate, acknowledged that the matter had not been formally brought to their attention but assured that the Senate would take proactive steps to intervene upon receiving such concerns.

Adaramodu while commenting on the salaries paid to the lower rank of the armed forces, said: “This has not been brought to the attention of the National Assembly.

“However, if there is any complaint or a public petition on this, it will be diligently handled by the relevant Senate Committee or as may be deemed appropriate by the Senate leadership.”

However, Dr. Abdullahi Mohammed Jabi, the Secretary General of the International Institute of Professional Security (IIPS), emphasised that soldiers should receive a minimum monthly salary of half a million naira.

He criticised the current practice of paying a meager amount to soldiers who risk their lives in defense of the nation as unacceptable.

He said: “It is justifiable for an increase to be made geometrically in order to motivate them. They can’t be losing their lives on the battlefield and then be contending with this irresponsible, poor payment. There is nothing wrong if they can equally be given special payment besides the minimum wage being demanded by labour now.

“They have to be given something reasonable because it has to do with life; you see them today and tomorrow they are gone. What will their families fall back on? So they should be given what is reasonable, let’s say, half a million per month so that they will be able to do the job very well, because part of the challenge we experience with the unending insurgency is that some of our soldiers are now compromised due to their condition.”

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