By Charles Nwabardi
Some retired soldiers under the “Coalition of Concerned Veterans” have protested the non-Payment of their pension arrears for the past 24 months.
The veterans, who gathered at the Ministry of Finance headquarters, Abuja, insisted on getting answers to their demands, else they will continue protesting and in demand of their rights.
 They were seen with placards on which various inscriptions were written.
Such placards read: “CCV demands immediate payment of security debarment allowance”; “Military veterans demand 24 months arrears of minimum wage approved.”
Another bore a comprehensive list of the demands:
“Immediate payment of 24 months outstanding arrears of minimum wage as approved by the C-IN-C. Immediate payment of security debarment allowance (S.D.A) as approved by MAFA Section V Page 98 without discrimination.
“Inhuman reduction from the medically boarded veterans remuneration to be stopped forth with. N.H.I.S National Health Insurance Scheme should be reviewed to cover essential/serious ailments of the veterans. Enough of no cash backing slogan on veterans entitlement.”
They further lambasted the Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd) for failing to come out to see the retirees for three days when they visited him in his house in Kano State, even as he was one of them.
The leader of the CCV noted: “We are not here to joke, we are old people who served this country when we were still young, when we had strength, now that we are done with service, the Nigerian government decided to abandon us. All our entitlements, they refused to pay us.
“We wrote letters, tried doing other things to ensure we got our demands met but they didn’t heed. During Sallah; we even went to the Minister’s house because I am based in Kano; we went to the Minister’s house on a visit and he said he didn’t want to see us.
“We began to ask questions, is he not also one of us? He’s also a retired soldier, why will he refuse to see us? For three days, we were there, how could he be possibly engaged for three days in his own house? We are his primary responsibility, there’s nothing that should make him say he doesn’t want to see us.
“To our demands: the minimum wage President Buhari signed in 2019, they haven’t paid us the arrears, there’s another thing called debarment allowance, they haven’t paid us. The debarment allowance is supposed to be paid to all military men that have served in the past whether in the Army, Air Force or whatsoever, so we can go and settle ourselves, this will not make criminals recruit trained soldiers to build houses and all but they refused to pay us all, they paid some people but not all.
“The past Chief of Defence Staff was the one who caused confusion and when we cried, we were invited, a committee was set up, the committee members did their job and came up with a report but we haven’t heard anything since then and you know that this government will soon end; so this is the opportunity we have that one of our own; Muhammadu Buhari, and the minister, National Security Adviser; and some members of the parliament are retirees like us,” he said.

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