By Jack Vince

MAIDUGURI: For three months or more, soldiers at the theatre of war in the northeast of Nigeria have not been paid their allowances. What could be more demoralising than this? Imagine trying to conquer an enemy in battle without first conquering the hunger in your stomach! Sad, huh? Yes, very sad!

Mentally, the demoralised soldiers are subdued. Even a tabula rasa knows that mental defeat affects physical productivity. When an average soldier or military personnel uses the term “morale low”, it means, simply, that things are not happening the way they should. They use the term, often. Theirs, unfortunately, is not a placard-carrying institution.

Factors responsible for troops fleeing their posts and being dislodged by the dreaded terrorists in the past are still rife: lack of incentives and requisite sensitisation, poorly equipped armament caches, demoralisation, corruption and a litany of other factors.

The mere fact that Damasak, Malumfatori, Doron Baga, Doro Naira, Gamboru, Dikwa, Bama, Gwoza, Pulka, Ngala and other places (once considered inaccessible) save the forest of Sambisa are presently being controlled by federal troops means that the war is TECHNICALLY over. Yet, a lot of our soldiers are reported drowned or missing in action. We still get reports of soldiers retreating from the ‘superior fire power’ of the insurgents (a supposed rag tag band of marauding brigands).

A deja vu of the last administration seems imminent. Invariably, as it was in the beginning, so it seems even now. Though alarm is no longer raised on these issues like before, the truth remains that soldiers still die daily and are interred, quietly.

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