Thousands of Military Pensioners across the country who have in the past undergone the ordeal of having to queue up in the sun and rain for physical and manual verification exercises can now heave a sigh of relief.
This is because the Military Pensions Board under the leadership of Commodore Saburi Abayomi Lawal, Chairman, Military Pensions Board is set to commence Electronic/E verification exercise of retired ex-military personnel
In the same vein, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo said on Monday that the plan by the MPB to embark on Electronic Verification of military pensioners to replace the Manual System is a laudable initiative.
“Specifically, it would lead to substantial financial savings to the FGN through progressive elimination of ghost or deceased pensioners while also eliminating the stress the senior citizens endure during manual verification exercises” the CNS said.
The MPB Chairman made this disclosure during the commissioning of projects at the headquarters of the Military Pensions Board at Bwari, Abuja by Vice Admiral AZ Gambo, who was the Special Guest of Honour.
Commodore Lawal said, “The Board has concluded plans to transmute from the hitherto manual verification of all military pensioners to a more secured and user-friendly electronic verification.
“Hopefully, before the end of this year, barring any unforeseen circumstances, Electronic Verification Exercise of military pensioners would commence after obtaining approval from appropriate superior authorities.
Continuing Commodore Lawal said, “It on record that since my assumption of duty in September last year, our esteemed pensioners have received their monthly pensions before the end of each month.
“Similarly, gratuities of all retirees who retire from Service as at July 2021 and whose retirement documents have been received at the Board have been paid.
” We have also ensured payments of death benefits to NOKs of deceased personnel who have been recommended by the Services and cleared as genuine NOK by the MPB NOK Committee.
“In addition, I am happy to inform that all retirees are presently being paid in accordance with the new pension chart wef May 21 as approved by the Federal government.
On challenges face by the MPB, he said, “The major challenge facing the Board is the terrible state of the access road from Duste Alhaji to the Military Pensions Board.
“Though, the Board has been able to construct and asphalted the road leading to its main gate as well as graded the long stretch of road from Dutse-Alhaji junction, it is important to state that the road from Dutse Alhaji will not be able to stand another raining season if remedial actions are not quickly put in place.
“It is in this view that we appeal to the Federal Capital Development Authority to urgently assist in the construction of this road as a matter of urgency.
“Another major challenge facing the Board is lack of official accommodation for the Board’s Chairman, the Directors and other Principal Staff Officers. We all live presently in privately rented accommodation.
‘These problems has been brought to the attention of the MOD and DHQ. It is hoped that they will be addressed in the shortest possible time”.
The CNS in his address said, “Permit me to state that the plan by the MPB to embark on Electronic Verification of military pensioners to replace the Manual System is a laudable initiative.
“It is envisaged that the Electronic Verification of military pensioners would resolve the challenges experienced in the existing manual system.
‘Today’s event is a manifestation of the genuine desire to add value and improve the welfare and wellbeing of personnel, veterans and civilian staff at the Board.
“This feat no doubt deserves some commendation considering the dwindling national resources amidst other competing demands coupled with global economic downturn arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I must therefore applaud the leadership of the Military Pensions Board for the prudent utilisation of limited resources for the improvement of the welfare of personnel, civilian staff, esteemed retirees and Next of Kins of our deceased personnel.
“Pertinently, the newly constructed transit accommodation for officers and non-commissioned officers as well as the remodeled 24 office spaces would address the accommodation challenges faced by personnel at the Board.
“In the same vein, the importance of sports to the wellbeing of personnel/civilian staff cannot be overemphasized.
“To this end, the use of the renovated sport complex, including the Olympic size swimming pool would enhance the health and physical wellbeing of personnel especially as the Armed Forces is leaving no stone unturned in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These projects would in addition to boosting the aesthetic outlook of the Board, create the desired ambience that would motivate the staff and enhance operational efficiency.
“Additionally, the construction of the new multipurpose minimart to meet immediate needs of personnel is an ingenious effort.
“This has further reaffirmed the commitment of the Board’s leadership to the welfare of its staff. I must say that this achievement deserves a resounding round of applause.
“Relatedly, the creation of observation posts around the Board considering its remote location is also a step in the right direction.”
Present at the occasion were former Chairmen of the Military Pensions Board including Major General BVT Kwaji (rtd), Air Vice Marshal Dabo (rtd), Rear Admiral Bala Mshelia (rtd), Air Commodore Kachiro (rtd) and Navy Commodore Audu (rtd) as well as Chairman House of Rep Committee on Defence, Hon Babajimi Benson among others.