The Nigerian military has started going after soldiers who deserted the Armed Forces.
The Director of Defence Information, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, who described the act as a grave offence, said the Nigerian military would arrest those who had absconded.
Olukolade made this known while speaking on issues involving the ongoing counter-insurgency operations at Nigeria News Info.
The Defence spokesman enjoined members of the public to ensure that deserters were reported to the military authorities for prompt action.
According to him, any soldier found roaming about without being on leave or having an authorised pass, would most likely be a deserter and should be reported to the appropriate authorities.
Olukolade said, “There are deserters; there are deserters definitely and the deserters are being arrested.
“And in any case, deserters are supposed to be reported to security agencies and arrested; it is a crime to be a deserter; if you are a deserter that is the worst form of military service.
“And I think it is time the public knew some things that should not be glorified about the soldier; if a soldier is a mutineer, if a soldier is a deserter, when a soldier demonstrates cowardice, such a person is not doing anything glorious. Such a person is a disgrace and is actually operating in the realm of crime; and there is no heroism whatsoever in it.
“Now the way people are presenting this attitude makes it look as if they want to feel heroic; you desert your unit, you go about telling lies of what is happening in the front so that you would look like a gallant. Such a person should be reported and if possible arrested and presented to the authorities. If it takes 20 years, a deserter is a deserter, we will get him”.
Olukolade, who spoke on the reported attack on the former General Officer Commanding the 7th Division, Nigeria Army, Maiduguri, Maj.-Gen. Ahmed Mohammed, said the soldiers involved in the alleged mutiny.
He said that the military authorities would speak on the matter after the trial.
Olukolade said, “We have gone beyond investigation. Much as it would continue to make a case against anyone found behaving unexpectedly in that incident, a number of people, as a result of that, are definitely facing trial at the moment; we will speak on it when the trial is over and it is concluded”.