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Buratai’s comment on soldiers’ ‘insufficient commitment’ may boost morale of Boko Haram insurgents – Military expert

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Retired senior military intelligence expert, Col. Ola Majoyeogbe, has urged the military to act fast in boosting the morale of soldiers’ tackling security challenges across the country.

According to him, Tuesday’s comment by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai that insufficient commitment by some soldiers was affecting the success of the counter-insurgency operations was true.

He, however, said the remarks would have been made privately as making publicly would have been heard by the soldiers and the insurgents, including Boko Haram, who might draw inspiration from it.

Lt.Gen. Buratai, who spoke on Tuesday at the opening of a five-day leadership workshop for mid-level officers and soldiers in Abuja, blamed the rising terrorist attacks and recent setbacks to “insufficient commitment to a common national and military cause by those at the frontlines.”

The Colonel said, “Buratai was right. He noted that the falling standards of discipline in Nigerian life had affected the military as well.”

He also observed that the better education level of today’s soldiers might have affected their attitudes toward fighting.

Majoyeogbe said: “We used to have soldiers referred to as 63NA. 63NA soldiers were largely, at best, semi-literate and, so, they obeyed orders without any question. They also appeared to be much more courageous and determined to achieve the tasks that were given to them.

“A man who is uneducated certainly has challenges, but the advantages of dealing with such people when it comes to matters of life and death are many. The soldiers that we have today refer to themselves as ‘Millennium Soldiers.’

“Many of them have university degrees so their attitude to life and death is different. They tell us all sorts of things, all sorts of philosophies, but the soldiers of those days, you could just give them orders and you can be sure they will carry it out. I think it is a generational thing.

“So, I agree with him completely seeing the way the attitude of soldiers changed over the years.”

According to him, the morale of any fighting group is a major factor in whether they win or lose.

“So, when the COAS makes that kind of statement, he should know that all the soldiers will hear it. Boko Haram will also hear it.”

He expressed concern that since the Army chief made the statement at a public forum “and now the soldiers have read that the chief does not think that some of them are serious people, Boko Haram will also hear the same thing and believe that soldiers are now unwilling to fight.”

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