Ex-soldiers picket defence ministry over unpaid allowances

RETIRED Members of the Nigerian Armed Forces and the Coalition of Concerned Military Veterans today picketed the Ministry of Defence in Abuja.

The protesters staged the third phase of their protests over the non-payment of their Security Debarment Allowance, among others by the Federal Government.

They displayed banners which read, “Review the wide disparity in pay and pension across the ranks of serving and retired personnel.”

Among other demands is for President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the immediate payment of pensions to Nigerian civil war veterans that were verified in the 2015 pension payroll.

During their demonstrations, the aggrieved ex-soldiers blocked access to the Ministry of Defence located at Ship House on Olusegun Obasanjo Way in the Federal Capital Territory.

This is not the first time they were call on the Federal Government to pay their allowances. In January, they picketed the ministries of finance, defence, and the National Assembly earlier in pursuit of the same demand.

The National Secretary, REMENAF, Ambassador Roy Okhidievbie said that the demonstration was to demand the payment of their security debarment allowance owed them by the Federal Government.

He accused the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd.) of refusing to disburse the allowances despite approval by President Buhari.

“We have had meetings with the Defence Minister, Magashi, but he appears to be headstrong, heartless, and unperturbed concerning the grievances of retired military officers, as he never paid nor showed any interest or concern to pay these allowances, especially the Security Debarment Allowance,” Okhidievbie was quoted as saying in a report by The Punch.

“Interestingly, President Buhari-led regime has approved the payment of this allowance, but Magashi has refused to make disbursements.”

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