Retired personnel of the Nigerian military, under the aegis of Ex-Service Men Welfare Association, have given notice of their readiness to hold a peaceful protest on Thursday, January 15, 2015, the day set aside for the annual Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration, over the failure of government to pay the members pension arrears.
The leadership of the association said in a statement on Tuesday that the peaceful protest was aimed at attracting government and the public’s attention to the plight of the military pensioners.
The statement, signed by Col. P. A. Zubair, Col. H. I. Ikoghode, MWOs U. Samuel and A. Agbas, noted that the military pensioners had been passing through harrowing experience because of the failure of the government to fulfill promises made to them regarding the prompt payment of their pension allowances.
The ex-service men argued that it was wrong on the part of the government to celebrate the fallen heroes while their counterparts, who are alive, were left to starve.
The statement read, “The members of the Ex-Service Men Welfare Association hereby wish to request for your kind support to bring to the notice of the general public of the plight of the Armed Forces pensioners.
“The military pensioners have continued to face untold hardship as a result of government refusal to pay our outstanding pension arrears since July 2010 to date.
“However, we have been subjected to all forms of deceit from the government and its various organs responsible for the payment of the pension arrears in the annual budget that has not seen the light of the day…
“It is the height of hypocrisy to vote huge sums of money for the fallen heroes every year while the living ones are forgotten and dying of hunger.
“The living heroes are ready to stage a nationwide protest to show the world our plight. No going back on our 53.37% pension arrears based on the correct data.
“We have legally earned the money and refusing to pay us or tampering with it is totally unacceptable”, the statement read.
It may be recalled that the ex-servicemen had on December 10, 2014 threatened to disrupt the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebrations scheduled for Thursday, over 30 months unpaid pension arrears from the 2010 pension increment.