War veterans protest 44 years unpaid pensions

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Some of the First Intake Able Voluntary Retired or Discharged 10 or More Years in Military Service yesterday protested their 44 years unpaid pensions in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Led by their , Cpl. Babawande Philips (rtd), the marched through the of Ibadan, placards with inscriptions like ‘44 years unpaid pensions to the Federal Republic of Nigeria War Veterans’ and ‘We are in silence’.

Philips said: “We have been deprived of our pensions in the last 44 years. They have us of our pensions. We laid our lives for the unity of this nation. I wonder why they are treating us like this. We want the whole nation to know that we are being cheated.

“Those who for the Biafran have been paid. Why were they paid and they left us unpaid, we who gave our lives for the unity of this nation.” he said.

Philips faulted recent claims that they were not qualified because their service was less than 15 years, saying they wanted to use Decree 102 against them. According to him, such Decree could not be used against them because it was not used against the Biafrans who fought the country.

He added: “They are claiming that anyone who didn’t up to 15 years is not qualified to pensions. They have forgotten that there was a circular that came out in 1977 that any who clocks 10 years or more, but less than 15 years, is qualified to receive pensions; they would also be entitled to 40 per cent of their terminal salaries. I don’t know whether they are not aware of this circular or not.”

Philips said there are about 780 of them yet to be paid, and so appealed to the Federal Government to heed their call.

“We appeal to the Federal Government to yield to our clarion call. If a person used a day in the war front, you can’t equate it with somebody who used a year outside the war. The Biafran soldiers were paid in batches and they have all been paid to the last kobo. The last was paid last year, about 112 of them,” he added.

The coordinator also narrated how they settled their litigation with the government out of court in 2015, and a new biometric verification was conducted for them.

“We have all these documents with us. We have the verification papers, biometrically in 2007 and 2015. We all have it with us. So, we don’t know the reason why they should continue to us. A lot of my people are in abject poverty, many have died,” he said.

Secretary Lance Cpl. Joseph Popoola (rtd) appealed to the Federal Government and to help address their .

“It has been . We are suffering in silence. We appeal to all Nigerians and Federal Government to see to our problems. We have been on this since 2002. We were in court till 2014 when Chief Inang Okoro (rtd) said we should go to the Court. President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in 2015. Then, we were to come for pension board verification, which we did. But still, we didn’t from them,” he said.



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