Reports from the three states under emergency rule as a result of Boko Haram onslaughts indicate that the morale of soldiers in the areas is very low courtesy of poor welfare package and lack of motivation.
This logically explains the recent allegation that soldiers flee on sighting Boko Haram fighters who are better equipped and robustly motivated. It also furnishes us with acceptable casus belli for the current upsurge and perceived invincibility of Boko Haram insurgents.
Within the last two weeks alone, the hoodlums killed about 200 innocent Nigerians. These include: the 53 students of Government College massacred in Yobe State; 52 people killed in the twin bomb attacks in Maiduguri on Saturday 1st March, 2014; 35 people killed in Mafa on Sunday, 2nd March, 2014; and another attack on Mainok village within 24 hours which claimed 39 lives.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) asserts that these are avoidable deaths if only the Nigerian military is properly motivated and well equipped. The allegation that some of the injured soldiers pay for their treatment is sickening. Ditto for the rumoured provision of N50,000 for the family of slain soldiers. It is simply disgusting. The report of poor feeding is also enough to dampen the enthusiasm of soldiers in the area.
MURIC is alarmed that unless a drastic review of welfare conditions of soldiers fighting Boko Haram takes place very soon, the vandals may overrun Maiduguri, occupy the Government House and take the governor captive.
We therefore call for an immediate institution of a probe into the issue of welfare for Nigerian soldiers in the Boko Haram areas. This should include their feeding, allowances and health care.
The Federal Government must not make the unpardonable mistake of abandoning the North to the North. It will give extremists the chance to take over. We believe that the stability of the North is very crucial to the stability of Nigeria because when the hen perches on the rope, neither the hen nor the rope can stand firmly.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)