A Nigerian Airforce helicopter

Investigation Uncovers Alleged Non-payment of Over 9 Months Approved Combat Allowances of Air Force Personnel in Zamfara Operation

Secrets Reporters

An investigative report has uncovered a concerning allegation of non-payment of combat allowances to personnel deployed to Operation in Zamfara State. According to a source in the military, personnel entitled to combat allowances, as stipulated in the Manual of Financial Administration (MAFA) for the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN), have allegedly been left unpaid for an extended period.

The MAFA, approved by the Armed Forces Council and signed by former President Buhari on January 26, 2018, outlines various allowances, including combat allowances for personnel engaged in operations. However, it has been reported that despite the provisions of the MAFA, personnel have not received their entitlements.

Since the commencement of the operation, personnel of the Nigerian Air Force purportedly received combat allowances only twice, in June and July 2023. Subsequently, no payments have been made to them, leading to financial distress among the affected personnel.

Since the two months payment of N75,000 per month totaling N150,000 for two months, the period spanning from August 2023 to April 2024, which amounts to 9 months, each personnel is owed N750,000. The Operation Allowance is pegged at N5,000 per day for each personnel.

A screenshot of MAFA

Efforts to address the issue, including attempts to reach the Chief of the Air Staff, have reportedly yielded no tangible results, leaving personnel in areas like Bungudu Local Government Area, Dadin Zama axis particularly vulnerable to financial hardships.

Some of the personnel on Operation in Dadin Zama

In an exclusive interview with SecretsReporters, a victim of the alleged non-payment of combat allowances vividly recounted the harrowing ordeals faced by personnel deployed in communities where they risk their lives to safeguard citizens across the country.

The interviewee, whose identity was concealed for security reasons, painted a distressing picture of the dire circumstances endured by personnel who, despite their valiant efforts, struggle to make ends meet due to the reported non-payment of allowances.

Describing the grim reality faced by these unsung heroes, the source revealed that they often find themselves grappling with the stark reality of insufficient financial resources, which severely impacts their ability to afford basic necessities, including proper nutrition. Forced to subsist on meager rations and unhealthy foods, these brave individuals endure tremendous hardships as they confront the looming threat of armed bandits on a daily basis.

Picture of a camp in Dadin Zama

Furthermore, the source chillingly recounted the perilous encounters with bandits, highlighting the inherent risks involved in their line of duty. Facing constant danger and adversity, these personnel courageously confront armed assailants, putting their lives on the line to uphold the safety and security of their fellow citizens.

Adding to the gravity of the situation, the source revealed a particularly distressing incident where one of their camps was lost to a brazen attack by bandits, resulting in displacement. Forced to abandon their base of operations, the personnel were compelled to seek refuge in a community hospital hastily converted into a makeshift camp.

Picture of the temporal camp

Disturbingly, photographic evidence provided by the source depicted the appalling conditions endured by the displaced personnel in their makeshift accommodations, underscoring the dire need for urgent intervention and support. The images captured the grim reality of their living conditions, portraying a scene of destitution and deprivation.

The investigation delved into the financial guidelines governing salaries and allowances within the AFN, which include the Consolidated Armed Forces Salary Structure (CONAFSS). This structure outlines various components of personnel emoluments, including basic salary, hazard allowance, and other mandatory allowances.

According to sources, the combat allowance approved for officers deployed to Bungudu Local Government Area, Dadin Zama axis, is believed to have been diverted, exacerbating the financial strain on affected personnel.

The lack of transparency and accountability in addressing this allegation raises concerns about the welfare and well-being of personnel engaged in such critical operations as it is believed that the situation would have impact on the commitment of the military men. Narrating his observation, another source in the team told SecretsReporters that issues of non-payment of allowances are major resources of discouragement in their line of duty. “We are committed to defending the country and its citizens but when you work and you don’t get what is accrued to you, sir, your guess is as good as mine,” he said.

Despite attempts to seek clarification through official channels, such as emails to the Nigerian Air Force and inquiries to the Ministry of Defence, no response has been forthcoming. With the Freedom of Information Act, we request for explanation through emails sent to the Nigerian Airforce via info@airforce.mil.ng was not responded to while the phone number they provided on their social media for enquiries 09 904 4445 was not going through at the time of filing this report. Contact form filled on the website of the Ministry of Defence was also not responded to.

More so, all efforts to reach Chief of the Air Staff of Nigeria, Air Marshal Hasan Bala Abubakar, and Minister of Defence Mohammed Badaru Abubakar as well as Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI) Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet were in futility.

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