Cpl. Ibrahim Usman, one of wounded soldiers in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East, has called on Nigerians to pay more attention to troops’ welfare.
Usman made the appeal in an interview with newsmen on Monday, when the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, visited wounded soldiers at hospitals in Maiduguri.
The soldier, who was admitted to military hospital, Maimalari Cantonment, about three weeks ago, urged Nigerians to pay attention to soldiers’ well being in the frontline just as they were doing for the missing Chibok girls.
According to Usman, his two legs broke during an explosion when a vehicle conveying him and nine other soldiers to Monguno in Borno north during an operation stepped on mine planted by the terrorists.
“We need Nigerians to take care of us. Like this my injury, broken legs, they suppose to take me to a specialist hospital or abroad for a good treatment.
“If it is these girls – Chibok school girls, they will take them abroad. We are the ones fighting in the bush,’’ Usman said.
Although the solider said that he was responding to treatment, he said would retire from the military when he gets well due to the injury.
“I cannot fight again because I do not have that strength any more. My legs are broken.
“If I get well, I will retire because my legs are broken. I can no longer go and fight the insurgents,’’ Usman.
Another soldier, Sgt. Ahmed Musa, however, thanked the army chief for visiting wounded soldiers in the hospital.
Musa of 119 Battalion Task Force, Mallam Fatori said: “My situation when I got here was worse but God I am getting healed.”
“I have injury in one of my hands. When he – Buratai came here we are happy because when we came here we did not see anybody. We appreciate the way he comes here,’’ he said.
According to Cpl. Innocent Gabriel, a nurse attending to one of the wounded soldiers at the time of the visit, the common cases of injury are fractures resulting from explosions and gunshots.
Gabriel said that most of wounded soldiers were responding to treatment, adding that some of them may be taken to the theatre.
The doctor in charge of the hospital, Lt.-Col. Ndidi Onuchukwu, a Consultant Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon, said that 97 wounded soldiers were being treated in the facility which had capacity for 105 patients.
Onuchukwu said that the worst cases come from combat injuries, adding that the hospital was,collaborating with the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital – UMTH to give the best to them.
Speaking after the visit, Buratai described it as “operation and welfare visit” to encourage the wounded soldiers.
He said that most of them would soon be discharged and commended troops for efforts in the war against the insurgents.
Prof. Abdurrahman Tahir, the Chief Medical Director of UMTH, lauded the army for the prompt settlement of its personnel medical bills. (NAN)