Military Veterans Seek Upward Review Of Salaries, Pensions For All Ranks

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Military Veterans Ministerial Welfare Committee has called on President Bola Tinubu to embark on upward review of their salaries and pension payments periodically to conform with inflationary trends.

The group also said, a new salary structure, must first of all, reflect a bridge of the wide disparity between all ranks and subsequently an appropriate increase to be effected across board.

Addressing newsmen on Tuesday, at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, the Chairman of the Committee, retired Air Commodore Isaac Olufemi Oguntuyi disclosed that “all these burning issues call for very urgent intervention.”

He said, “Today’s conference is significant in a number of ways. It comes up six days before the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, which is a day set aside for paying tribute to our colleagues who paid the supreme sacrifice in the service of our dear country.

“To us the veterans’ community of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN), the Remembrance Day is not only symbolic but germane to the continuous peaceful existence of the nation, so that their labour and ours shall not be in vain.

 

“It is in this regard that we would like to sensitize the veterans’ body and the general public on issues that border on the livelihood of the veterans, which are also likely to be morale boosters to our colleagues, still in service.”

 

According to Oguntuyi, the Press Conference was targeted at the Nigerian Military Veterans Community at home and in diaspora.

 

“The aim is essentially to sensitize the veterans’ community and the general public on the ongoing efforts that our Committee is collaborating with Ministry of Defence (MOD) to bring succour to the retirees.

 

“First and foremost, we will like to thank the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, for his administration’s commitment to the welfare of members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) as well as the Military Veterans and their families.

 

“Similarly, our gratitude also goes to the Honourable Minister of Defence (HMOD), Honourable Minister of State for Defence (HMOSD), Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence (PS MoD), Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and Service Chiefs for elving priorities to the welfare of our troops and Military Veterans.

 

“We also want to convey our appreciation to the immediate past President for the commitment and actions he took, while in office, in ensuring the rights of the veterans, This notwithstanding, there exist some lingering areas that require some reappraisal to ensure equity and harmony among the veterans.”

 

Oguntuyi further stressed that, “On the resumption of office, the HMoD, Alhaji Abubakar Badaru in order  to get the grip of the lingering issues, called for a meeting with the veterans’ associations at the Ship House on & November 2023. Thereafter, a Committee of five members, the Military Veterans Welfare Committee, headed by my humble self was composed.

 

“The Minister said  this is a standing Committee that is mandated to work directly with the Minister in order to present and address the persistent problems of veterans. This assignment was ostensibly carried out and a report was written and has been submitted, on 30 November 2023, to the HMOD for necessary actions. We are very grateful for this generous and kind disposition.

 

“It should be noted that the essence of the payment of allowances and other entitlements to veterans is to reward their loyalty and commitment to Nigeria while in Service and alleviate their pains after exit from active service to fatherland.

 

“The veterans are not immune from rising inflation in all sectors of the society. These veterans served Nigeria patriotically throughout their Service years in the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) with valour and honour.”

 

The Chairman, however mentioned some critical areas that the Committee submitted report on, which include “seeking bulk payment and use of same template for the payment of the already partially approved Security Debarment Allowance (SDA).

 

“Review of the unjustifiable and arbitrary wide disparity in pension payments within ranks, upward reviews of salaries pensions of the serving andretired personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN).

 

“Implementation of Post Service benefits in accordance with Harmonised Terms and Condition of Service (HTACOS). Necessity for the establishment of Veterans Federation of Nigeria (VFN) as it is in other climes. Inevitability for the overhauling of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to cater for sick veterans.

 

“The VFN Bill to be passed by the National Assembly as soon as possible with the establishment of Veteran Affairs Commission, with a Director General (OG) who must be a retired Officer, not below the rank of a Brigadier General or equivalent from the Navy and Air Force.”

 

He also made a case for civil war veterans stating that, “Nigerian Civil War Veterans, who fought on the side of Nigeria and are yet to be placed on pension payroll as has been done in favour of their Biafra counterpart including policy review for boarded soldiers. These are the next stages of our mandate in collaboration with the office of HMOD,” he said.

 

He noted also that, significant progress has been made in addressing the critical welfare points highlighted above.

 

This is as he called on their members to be calm and give the present administration a bit more time to address Veterans welfare needs.

 

While thanking President Tinubu in advance for this kind of consideration of their requests, Oguntuyi assured of their continued support and to  reciprocate the good efforts of the Government.

 

“We, the committee members are committed to standing in the gap always and be there to ensure that our voices are heard.

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