By Kayode Sanni-Arewa
Some Nigerian Army veterans who fought in the 1967 Civil War and were members of the First Intake Able Voluntary Retired or Discharged, have lamented the non-payment of their pensions and Security Debarment Allowance (SDA).
They accused the Military Pension Board of flouting President Muhammadu Buhari's order by excluding them from the payments.
The veterans urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to probe what happened to the monies.
Speaking with SaharaReporters, one of the veterans said, “The Nigerian Legion has collected our documents. We submitted our documents to them last month. After one month and one week, they still did not take the document s to Abuja. Then we decided to go to Abuja on our own, we went there on a Sunday and we were there in their office on Monday.
“They told us that we were not entitled to pensions. We said that was before, under Obasanjo but recently, Buhari said he approved N134billion for the civil war veterans' monies to be paid. That is their pensions and that is why we are here. They still said we are not entitled.
“They now said we should go and write applications for security debarment but we told them Buhari approved pensions for us, not security debarment. We wrote it and we said, Let's get the pensions ID card from them. They now sent us to Abacha barracks to go and collect the ID cards from there, but they said it was not there. We went round paying big money for transport. When we got to Gowon barracks, they said no, we should go back to Aguiyi Ironsi barracks.
“They told us that we had to put on uniforms. Instead of giving us pensions ID card, they gave us Nigerian Army discharged soldier, we were eight and they gave us the same ID card. But they forgot they gave us papers as genuine pensioners.
“They also said we would come to Abuja for an interview. Are we seeking employment? As I am talking now, more than half of our people cannot go to Abuja because there is no cash to go there. They said we are not going to be paid arrears. They said they will only start to pay us normal pensions every month.
“They said those who did not spend up to 10 years in the army will be paid off.”
Buhari had in November 2022 approved N134.7 billion for the payment of the Security Debarment Allowance to all military veterans.
The president also announced the donation of N10 million to the Nigerian Legion, on behalf of the Nigerian government.
“However, in order to capture all veterans hitherto excluded from the payment of the SDA, I have approved a review of the effective date of the Manual of Financial Administration for the Armed Forces of Nigeria (MAFA) 2017.
“Accordingly, I have also approved the sum of One Hundred and Thirty-Four Billion, Seven Hundred and Forty-Nine Million, Nine Hundred and Fifty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Forty-Three Naira, Sixty-Nine Kobo (N134,749,953,243.69) only for that purpose,” he had said.