Protesting ex-soldiers reject minister’s memo, says lacks feasibility

WhatsApp Image 2022-09-26 at 11.00.55
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Protesting military veterans on Monday rejected an offer made by the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd.), to revert to them within the next two weeks on the progress made concerning their demand for disbursement of their Security Debarment Allowance.

In a memo acquired by The PUNCH, the Ministry of Defence noted that it was committed to finding a lasting solution to their grievances, adding that steps were being taken to ensure the timely implementation of the approved SDA by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to all concerned veterans.

The memo, signed by the Director, Joint Services, Mrs O.M. Mustapha, on behalf of the minister, referenced the Monday, September 26 protest by military veterans under the aegis of the Retired Members of Nigerian Armed Forces and the Coalition of Concerned Military Veterans, their wives and children, and widows of late military personnel that died in service, over the delay in disbursement of their SDA.

It read, “In reference to your peaceful protest at the Ministry of Defence on September 26, 2022, I am directed to inform you that all your grievances have been noted.

“The ministry wishes to state its commitment to seeking a lasting solution to all the problems you have highlighted and steps are being taken to ensure the timely implementation of the approved SDA by Mr President to all concerned veterans.

“In line with our commitment, the ministry will revert to you within the next two weeks on progress made on the matter. Please, accept the assurances and warm regards of the minister.”

Speaking with our correspondent over the rejection of the memo, the National Secretary, REMENAF, Ambassador Roy Okhidievbie, noted that the veterans rejected the memo by the Ministry of Defence because it lacked feasibility.

“We have unanimously rejected this letter (memo) given to the CVV by the Ministry of Defence in response to our ongoing protest, stating that they’d revert to us in two weeks concerning our demands, and we’re waiting for a better structured letter with a feasible timeline.

“We don’t want the minister or the ministry to revert to us, rather, we want and expect them to give us a timeline for the disbursement of our money,” Okhidievbie said.

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

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

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

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

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