The viral allegation that soldiers of the Nigerian Army have not been paid by the army authorities, then under the former Chief of the Army Staff, retired Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, has been punctured as total falsehood.
There was the news that, certain soldiers were calling for a probe of how their Uniform and Boots Allowance and Scarce Skills Allowance approved by President Muhammadu Buhari since November 2017, were not paid. However, sources with the knowledge of activities within the Army said the information was farther from the truth, while itemizing several welfare packages introduced by General Buratai as former COAS which are not covered by the Manual of Financial Administration (MAFA).
These, the sources said, are aside massive infrastructural developments across the various Army formations in the country as well as many community development projects and services, which were undertaken under the Buratai leadership.
The issues as enumerated by the Nigerian Army sources, pointed to the fact that, it was the former COAS, retired Lt General Buratai who introduced boots and uniform allowance before it was incorporated in the 2017 MAFA.
Although, the MAFA was approved in November 2017, sources said that there was no financial appropriation to back it until 2020 when partial funding was granted. Also, scarce skill allowance, and some other allowances were not implemented 100% due to funding constraints. And based on this, an implementation strategy was adopted by all the Services and Defence Headquarters to ensure equity, fairness and transparency.
Investigations, however, revealed that, there have been many MAFAs, previously, which is essentially a guide of military non-regular allowances subject to appropriation, but none succeeded in the level of implementation as the 2017 MAFA which achieved almost 80%. It should also be noted that the 2017 MAFA remains the most robust welfare for the Armed Forces, since inception, and the initiative was introduced under the leadership of the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff and other service chiefs, a credit to the President and Commander In- Chief, Mohammadu Buhari.
While the National Assembly is also commended for its support in appropriation of funds despite the prevailing economic challenges the country is facing, the Army sources said it is only fair that General Tukur Buratai alone is not singled out on such issues of national importance that cuts across the armed forces.