I have watched as other countries hold very dear the job of a soldier. The sacrifices they make. Their families are respected and the citizens honour them.
I have watched as the US president urged the people to thank any soldier they see or any veteran for going to fight, putting their lives on the line to secure the freedom the people enjoy in the country.
The veterans are taken care of and the bodies of the fallen men and women are buried with a lot of respect.
In Nigeria, the soldiers are doing a thankless job. They fight and die without national honour and respect. Their faces are not even revealed to Nigerians. Their deaths are shrouded and they are buried in silence. The actual number of casualties is hidden from the populace.
Is the Nigerian Army a tool for politicians?
In a video recently released, troops fighting Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria released a video claiming that at least 100 soldiers died in a recent attack. They decried the deplorable state of their equipment. One could hear the lamentations of the soldiers behind the hazy and amateur few minutes video. They sounded devastated. They complained about low funding, poor ammunition and shared the belief that their bloods are sacrificed for the benefit of those who make money out of the war against Boko Haram.
A soldier narrating in the background of the video showed the burnt shells of several tanks and vehicles at the Metele base, which was from the November 18 Boko Haram attack.
“No less than 100 plus soldiers died here. Many are missing in action, they are nowhere to be found,” said the soldier in the video, which was obtained by AFP from a military source who confirmed its authenticity.
“See the weapons they bring here. These are not working,” he said as the footage revealed the burnt tanks and other military equipment.
“These are outdated vehicles, they are not working. They just keep them here for formality,” said the soldier.
“Imagine, they are killing us every day,” he said. “The situation is getting worse.”
A good number of the soldiers have paid the supreme price fighting for the country. These are people’s sons, husbands and brothers, sisters and mothers.
Are they doing a thankless job? Very soon there will be an armed forces remembrance day. Speeches will be made and merriment will be made. What about using the secured funding to equip these men and women better to fight and return home to their families safely?
It is a national pain that our soldiers are lost in such numbers and instead of national mourning, the politicians are picking on it to score political points.
In the end, what promise are they making to better the situation of the soldiers? Will they continue to fall and be buried in such obscurity, while the business of the day continues?