According to Sun News, the Nigerian Army said it would set up a General Court Martial (GCM) to try Special Forces who embarked on a protest at the Maiduguri Airport, in Borno State, two weeks ago.
This is just as the army has warned that it would not tolerate any act of indiscipline from its officers and soldiers, no matter the provocation, because the law and ethics that the Nigerian Army is founded on would take their full course on errant soldiers.
The army specifically warned that it would not tolerate any act of mutiny from soldiers engaged in counter-terrorism operations in the North-East.
Theatre commander in charge of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major-General Abbah Dikko, gave the warning during a lunch at the Maiduguri Military Command Centre over the weekend.
Dikko, who condemned the act of mutiny by the soldiers who took to protesting and shooting indiscriminately at the airport to protest their deployment to another local government area in the state, reminded the soldiers of their oath of recruitment when they voluntarily joined the service.
He noted that the oath must be respected and maintained, as long as they remain in the service of the Nigerian Army.
Dikko said, “You have decided to put your life on the line for the territorial integrity of Nigeria. So, it is very important that we are reminded of our roles and responsibilities to the nation and our responsibility to the society, most importantly our responsibility to ourselves because we are not a conscript army. We are a regular military.
“Those who have volunteered to serve, and that is the only time you will volunteer, subsequently having offered your service, it is the responsibility of the service to deploy you where they find you appropriate.
“So, it is important that we continue to retain our professional comportment so that we can serve diligently. It’s important that we uphold the values and ethics of the system that we belong to.”
He added that “it is also important that we understand it is a service to our fatherland. It is not a service to ourselves.
“The bedrock of your service as a soldier is discipline. A soldier must remain disciplined at all times. A soldier must obey instructions.”
While noting that the soldiers who protested at the Maiduguri Airport would be disciplined in accordance with military law, the theatre commander said, “We don’t punish in the military. We discipline. Discipline is the bedrock of the job. If there is no discipline, then we can’t have an army. So, if a soldier errs, he must be corrected.
“We are focused and doing what we are supposed to do in order to finish the assignment that we were given. No matter what it takes, we will do it professionally. Everybody is motivated and well catered for.
“There are some that are not here and you don’t know what they’re going through. You cannot say you’ve heard them complaining that they’re not in the townships. Some are in locations that are out of reach. So, we must understand the difficult times we find ourselves.”
The army’s reaction came in the wake of a protest and shooting in the air at the Maiduguri airport by soldiers of the Special Forces against their deployment from the state capital to Marte Local Government Area of the state. The aggrieved soldiers, who were said to have arrived the airport at about 6pm the day before their posting, refused to board the aircraft that was to convey them to their new operational area on the grounds that they had spent over four years in Maiduguri, without seeing their families.
Reports said the soldiers refused pleas from their superiors, including that of the General Officer Commanding, 7 Division, Brig. Gen. Bulami Biu, who were advised to stay away from the airport or risk being shot.