Planned Nationwide Protest: Military Pensioners differ over decision.
The protest action planned by thousands of ex-military pensioners nationwide, to bring to fore, the non-payment of the balance of their 20.37 per cent pension arrears by the federal government, has resulted in a split of the usually cohesive body of retired ex-soldiers.
Towards this end, a group, the Association of Ex-Service Pensioners has distanced themselves from the planned protest scheduled by other members of the ex-soldiers to go on any moment from now.
The originally recognized group of ex-soldiers and officers are RANAO (Retired Army, Navy and Airforce Organization) and the LEGION made up majorly of other ranks.
However, addressing the media in Abuja on ‘the true situation of event’, the Association of Ex-Servicemen led by Prince Ahmed Zubair (rtd Colonel) and Col. Henry Ikoghode (rtd), said, “It has come to our notice that a group of military retirees led by Lt. Colonel Azubuike Nas (rtd) is planning to embark on a protest as a result of non-payment of our pension. We are also aware of the response of RANAO to the alleged protest”.
“After a careful analysis of the media releases from both sides, it became necessary for the association to respond by bringing out the true situation of the military pension problems”.
Explaining that “the group had a dialogue with government through the Defence headquarters and presented the case of the military pensioners to them”, Zubair and Ikoghode said, “we also gave them a list of the areas in which the military pensioners have been shortchanged since 2003 and they agreed to take adequate action to remedy the pension anomalies pointed out by our association”.
“It is therefore illogical for any group to to start embarking on any form of protest now that the government appears to be taking genuine steps towards solving the military pension problem.
Our prayers to the government through the Defence headquarters are, “Pay the military pensioners the balance of 20.37% which was illegally deducted from their original 53. 37% increment during the implementation of CONAFSS 2010; Carry out harmonization with effect from HAFSS 2003 salary review which took effect from 1st October 2003.
Others are, “Pay the balance of retirement benefits to officers and soldiers who disengaged from military service between 2003 and 2006 using the approved monetized benefits of HAFSS; Implement the new minimum wage salary review (CONAFSS 2011) to the military pensioners; and Carry out computation of the pension aspect of CONAFSS 2007 using the approved pensionable benefits”.
Col Zubair (rtd) added that the main cause of the present military pension problem is the failure of the government to carry out harmonization since 2003 and as a result, only a fraction of what is supposed to be paid to the military veteran is being paid to him at the moment.
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