Some soldiers, who protested at the Maiduguri Airport on Sunday, have spoken on the incident. The demonstrators were part of the special force deployed to provide air defence and enhance security at the airport. The troops barricaded some sections of the airport and fired shots in the air, causing pandemonium, as hundreds of pilgrims waiting to be airlifted to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj scampered for safety.
One of them explained to NAN on Monday why they displayed their anger publicly. His words: “The army special forces deployed to the airport were not trained to engage in ground battle rather trained to provide air defence. “Our task is to provide air defence. Alas, special forces trained to fight ground battle are stationed in Maiduguri and we are deployed to go and die in Marte”. Another soldier lamented that the troops have overstayed in the North-East fighting Boko Haram, despite the rotation order by the military authorities. He said: “Some troops of Operation Lafiya Dole were deployed and worked for over three years in the theatre and not rotated as against the directives by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.
“The command is directed to redeploy soldiers back to their bases after spending stipulated time in the theatre of operation. “We have spent over three years in the North-East and we should be transferred out of the North-East and not within”. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has described the protest as ‘unscrupulous”. In a statement, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, Deputy Director Public Relations, Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre Command, noted that “Calm however been restored, as the Theatre Commander, Major General Abba Dikko has promptly taken charge of the situation”.