Some members of the First Intake Able Voluntary Retired or Discharged 10 or More Years in Military Service stage a protes on  their 44 years unpaid pensions allowance in Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital.

Led by their National Coordinator, Cpl. Babawande Philips (rtd), the group marched through the streets of Ibadan, carrying placards with inscriptions like ‘44 years unpaid pensions to the Nigeria Civil War Veterans’ and ‘We are dying in silence’.

Philips said: “We have been deprived of our pensions in the last 44 years. They have denied us of our pensions. We laid our lives for the unity of this nation. I wonder why they are treating us like this. We want the whole nation to know that we are being cheated.

“Those who fought for the Biafran side have been paid. Why were they paid and they left us unpaid, we who gave our lives for the unity of this nation.” he said.

Philips faulted recent claims that they were not qualified because their service was less than 15 years, saying they wanted to use Decree 102 against them. According to him, such Decree could not be used against them because it was not used against the Biafrans who fought the country.

He added: “They are claiming that anyone who didn’t serve up to 15 years is not qualified to receive pensions. They have forgotten that there was a circular that came out in 1977 that any soldier who clocks 10 years or more, but less than 15 years, is qualified to receive pensions; they would also be entitled to 40 per cent of their terminal salaries. I don’t know whether they are not aware of this circular or not.”

Philips said there are about 780 of them yet to be paid, and so appealed to the Federal Government to heed their call.
“We appeal to the Federal Government to yield to our clarion call. If a person used a day in the war front, you can’t equate it with somebody who used a year outside the war. The Biafran soldiers were paid in batches and they have all been paid to the last kobo. The last batch was paid last year, about 112 of them,” he added.

The coordinator also narrated how they settled their litigation with the government out of court in 2015, and a new biometric verification was conducted for them.

“We have all these documents with us. We have the verification papers, biometrically captured in 2007 and 2015. We all have it with us. So, we don’t know the reason why they should continue to punish us. A lot of my people are in abject poverty, many have died,” he said.

died,” he said.

Secretary Lance Cpl. Joseph Popoola (rtd) appealed to the Federal Government and Nigerians to help address their problem.

“It has been hard. We are suffering in silence. We appeal to all Nigerians and Federal Government to see to our problems. We have been on this since 2002. We were in court till 2014 when Chief Justice Inang Okoro (rtd) said we should go to the National Industrial Court. President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in 2015. Then, we were asked to come for pension board verification, which we did. But still, we didn’t hear from them,” he said.

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