Retired senior members of the armed forces including Generals, Military Specialists and professional have called on the federal government to consider the establishment of a ministry of veteran affairs in the country.
In a communique issued at the end of a 3-day retreat at the Nigerian Army Resource Center, aimed at unifying all the various associations of retired veterans in the country, they said, “We demand that the federal government of Nigeria considers and upgrades the Veterans Affairs Division to a full fledge ministry or Parastatal”.
“The veteran agreed to come together under one umbrella henceforth to be known as the Veteran Federation of Nigeria, under a steering committee to be chaired by Major General Abdulmalik Jibrin (rtd).
“They called on the minister of Defence to facilitate the expeditious passage of the Veteran Federation of Nigeria bill as amended by the 9th National Assembly when represented.
“They called on the ministry of Defence and the Defence headquarters to develop a data base of all veterans in Nigeria, detailing their strenghts and areas of specialization and experiences for cases of re-engagement.
“They appreciated the minister of Defence, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Service Chiefs for organizing the retreat’.
“They restated their loyalty and support to the federal government and readiness to continue to contribute to national security and development”.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin who was represented by Major General Atolagbe, Director of Plans, Defence headquarters, said, “In my opening remarks at the beginning of this retreat, I expressed concern that many of our retired personnel have not been able to contribute optimally to contemporary national issues despite a huge reservoir of knowledge, training and experience gained while in active service.
“Rather, they grapple with adjustment to civil life and personal welfare issues for extended periods of retirement. These challenges are further compounded by the presence of a community that has varied perceptions of military ranging from love to distrust and largely unfounded suspicion”.
” It is based on the foregoing that I convened this retreat for us to look at ways to kick start the process of bringing to fruition, the Veteran Federation of Nigeria to serve as veritable platform of synergyfor veterans associations”.