Politics: Angry military veterans protest over disengagement benefits Daily Parrot


Retired military personnel have protested the non-payment of their Security Debarment Allowance and other outstanding benefits.

The aggrieved veterans accused the Defence Minister, Major General Salihi Magashi (rtd) of indifference to their plight despite several appeals and letters sent written to him.

They were joined in the protest by their relations and the next of kin of deceased soldiers.

The protesters barricaded the entrance to the Ministry of Defence Headquarters at the Ship House, along Olusegun Obasanjo Way in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The retired personnel under the aegis of the Retired Members of Nigerian Armed Forces and the Coalition of Concerned Veterans accused the Defence Minister of deliberately refusing to disburse the Debarment cash, despite approval by President Muhamadu Buhari.

Addressing journalists, the spokesman of the group, Abiodun Durowaiye-Herberts, said, “we’re here alongside our wives and children, and the widows of late military personnel and veterans who died in service, some of whom died fighting Boko Haram terrorists. We’ll be sleeping over at this place until the Minister of Defence, Magashi accede to our demands”.

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The group’s National Secretary, Roy Okhidievbie, explained that the demonstration was to demand the payment of their Security Debarment allowance owed them by the Federal Government.

According to him, “we have had meetings with the Defence Minister, Magashi, but he appears to be headstrong, heartless, and unperturbed concerning the grievances of retired military officers, as he never paid nor showed any interest or concern to pay these allowances, especially the Security Debarment Allowance.

“Interestingly, President Buhari-led administration has approved the payment of this allowance, but Magashi have refused to make disbursements,” Okhidievbie said.

Anna Nanven, whose husband, a soldier, was killed by Boko Haram terrorists during an attack on a military barracks in Borno State in 2015, said she had only received one allowance disbursement since her husband’s demise.

She said: “My husband was a young man, a Corporal that was killed by Boko Haram terrorists during an attack on the barracks where he worked.

“I now live with his parents, and I bore five kids, three females and two males for him until his demise. The children are aged between 15 to 22 years and the two girls that have completed secondary school can’t afford to go to University because I can’t afford their school fees.

“I am pleading that the President, the Minister of Defence, and Nigerian citizens come to our aid. I and my five children are suffering and living in poverty because I can’t afford to start a business, and I have no job.”

Efforts to get the reaction of the Minister were abortive as his Special Adviser on Media, Mohammed Abdulkadir, did not respond to calls.

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