MILITARY pensioners Wednesday protested non-payment of their pension arrears at the headquarters of Federal Ministry of Finance, Abuja.
Numbering about 100, the retired solders accused the ministry of refusing to release funds for the payment of their pension backlogs.
Chanting solidarity songs, the old soldiers displayed placards bearing various inscriptions as “Pay us our pension,” and “pension review should be based on 53.7 per cent effective from 2015.”
In addition, they asked President Muhammadu Buhari to authorize release of the 20.37 per cent balance of military pension increment approved since 2010, payment of balance of gratuities of contributory pensions with National Pension Commission and harmonization of military pensions transparently and equitably.
The protesters also want Federal Government to audit and re-organize the Military Pension Board, which they alleged was being run opaquely and in an in manner to veterans, payment of military pensions to verified civil war veterans, and engagement of military veterans in the protection of critical infrastructure.
Yet, the ex-servicemen demanded payment of Next-of-Kin of fallen heroes equitable insurance benefits, and payment of balance of pension arrears of deceased veterans to Next-of Kin among others.
Chairman of the group, Mr Anthony Agba told reporters “We are here to demand for the payment of our 20.37 per cent illegally deducted by the previous governments. We have come here to protest for the non-payment.
“As you can see one of our members collapsed due to exhaustion and hunger caused by negligence of government. The minister of finance illegally deducted that money from the 53.37 per cent approved by federal governments.
“They said they deducted it for tax and housing but when we were in the military we don’t pay tax.
“They have done it before and we kept quiet and we won’t accept it anymore. We are retired soldiers and we want government to pay us the balance of 20.37 per cent and over pension is supposed to be reviewed since 2015, up till today they have not reviewed it.
“We suffered and made the country to be what it is today, spent our youthful years fighting for this country because if there’s no peace there won’t be any development and now we have become beggars in our own country.”
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