A group of Nigerian soldiers assigned to protect Chinese nationals at the Zungeru Hydro Electric Power Dam project in Niger State has accused their commanding officers of corruption and misappropriation of their three-month allowances.
These soldiers, totaling 191, are affiliated with the 1 Division, Nigerian Army, based in Kaduna State, and the 31 Artillery Brigade located in Minna.
In conversations with Sahara Reporters, they alleged that Major General Bamidele Alabi, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the division, and Brigadier General Jamiu Jimoh, the Artillery Brigade Commander, had been diverting their allowances.
Despite being on special assignment in Zungeru, the soldiers expressed distress over the non-payment of their Ration Cost Allowance (RCA) for the past three months, which has led to hunger and a decline in their morale.
The aggrieved soldiers believe that their superiors’ actions demonstrate a lack of sensitivity to the significant sacrifices they make for the country’s security.
In response to the situation, they have called upon President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Taoreed Lagbaja, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and National Assembly members to intervene and address the issue.
One of the disgruntled soldiers stated, “We soldiers from 1 Division in Kaduna and 31 Brigade in Minna, on special assignment to Zungeru, have not been paid our RCA in the last three months. We are about 191 posted to safeguard the Chinese expatriates working here in Zungeru Dam.”
RCA is our operation allowance, a monthly allowance granted to soldiers on special operations or deployed to the war front. It amounts to N45,000 when the month has 30 days and N46,000 when it’s 31 days. Regrettably, Major General Bamidele Alabi and Brigadier General Jamiu Jimoh have refused to disburse the funds.”
“We are responsible for the safety of Chinese nationals from terrorist threats, yet those in administrative positions are enjoying our allowances. We are also aware that the Chinese have paid our commanders, but they are hesitant to pay us, knowing that we cannot protest. We want the Chief of Army Staff to be aware of this situation.”
Another soldier warned that the special unit could soon experience a complete breakdown of order and discipline due to the unpaid allowances and alleged mistreatment by their commanders.
In 2022, two Chinese expatriates working at the Zungeru Hydro Electric Power Dam project were kidnapped by terrorists.
SaharaReporters attempted to obtain the Nigerian Army’s response, but Onyema Nwachukwu, the spokesperson, did not answer his phone calls, and a text message sent to his mobile line went unanswered as of the time of this report.