Rioting Nigerian soldiers explain action ahead of court martial

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The Nigerian Army has set up a board of inquiry over last Friday’s demonstration by soldiers from the 323 Artillery Regiment in Akure, capital of South-west Ondo state, over pay.

The local press Monday quoted the Nigerian Army spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Emeka Onwuamaegbu, as describing the action of the soldiers as ”unprofessional conduct”.

The angry soldiers chanted war songs and barricaded a major road as they demanded the balance of their six-month pay during their participation in a peace-keeping mission in Liberia.

They claimed that going by the stipend of US$1,228 per month per soldier approved by the Federal Government, they were entitled to US$7,368 each for the six months they served in Liberia, instead of the US$3,000 each which was paid to them.

But Brig.-Gen. Onwuamaegbu said there was a mix-up in the payment from the Finance Department of the Army headquarters, adding that the board would also find out why such a lapse happened.

However, he said that the mistake did not justify the action of the soldiers, whom he chided for failing to listen to pleas by their Commanding Officer for time to address the problem. Panapress .

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