Former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has reacted to Sunday’s protest by soldiers at the Maiduguri Airport in Borno State.
Reports say that soldiers of the Special Strike Forces deployed in Operation Lafiya Dole protested against their posting to Marte, a Local Government Area (LGA) in Northern Borno State.
They protested by shooting sporadically in the air at the airport.
According to the soldiers, a military circular from the Chief of Army Staff says no soldier posted to the North East to fight Boko Haram should be there for more than three years.
But Channels TV quoted one of the soldiers as saying that they had been there for almost four years, having been posted to Maiduguri since February 2015.
The soldier further said that out of over 300 troops that originally reported for duty more than three years ago, many had been killed by Boko Haram ambush or landmines while many had died in battle.
Reports say all entreaties by their superiors proved abortive as the protesting soldiers blocked all entry and exit points to the airport.
But reacting to the news, Fani-Kayode lamented the deplorable conditions under which Nigerian soldiers work.
He accused President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired general, of lacking respect for the military.
He said, “Yesterday soldiers threatened to shoot their superior officers in Maiduguri. This was because they were being sent to certain death at the frontline after being posted to Maiduguri for 4 years without seeing their families or getting all their benefits. This is sad and unfair
“Our soldiers deserve better. They must be treated with fairness,compassion, decency and respect. They must be paid their salaries and allowances when due and they must be honored for the sacrifices that they are making. They must not be treated like animals or when killed
“They must not be buried in secret mass graves like dogs. Nations are meant to honor their soldiers but here we humiliate, shame and disgrace them. This is unacceptable. Buhari has no respect for the military. He only uses them to intimidate innocent Nigerians and crush his enemies.”