By Chioma Iruke
After 51 years since the infamous Civil War, the Nigerian Government has revealed that one hundred and two (102) ex-Biafran soldiers granted Presidential Pardon have been captured for payment of gratuity and other emolument by the Military Pension Board.
The Minister of Defence, Major General Salihi Magashi (rtd), disclosing this explained that the number of beneficiaries were small because many of those involved are no more alive, considering that the war ended 51 years ago.
He however urged those with genuine complaints to come forward with their claims for consideration.
Magashi spoke at the Ministerial Briefing to flag-off the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day at the Army War College.
According to him: “Payment of pensions and gratuities to retired military personnel is now prompt and regular.
“In line with the anti-corruption stand of the present administration, the Ministry of Defence in conjunction with the Military Pension Board conducts regular verification exercise for Military pensioners. The exercise is intended to streamline and check leakages in the system.
“It will interest you to know that the Military Pension Board just concluded the documentation of ex-Biafran service personnel totaling 102 who were pardoned by Mr. President.
“The Ministry would continue to engage the pensioners through relevant organs like the Nigerian Legion, the Veteran Affairs Division and the Military Pension Board to ensure that Government obligations to them are met”.
Restating the significance of the Armed Forces Day Celebration, the Minister explained that “the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration is organized annually by the Ministry of Defence to honour our fallen heroes who laid down their lives in service to humanity during the First and Second World Wars, the Nigerian Civil War, Peace Support Operations and various Internal Security Operations particularly the current war against terrorism that is threatening the corporate existence of our dear fatherland.
“As we remember our fallen heroes, we also appreciate the challenges being faced by the loved ones they left behind, and who have indelible loving memories of their departed bread winners in their hearts. The Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration helps to reassure the families and relations of the fallen combatants that the nation will continue to be with them in paying respect to their departed relations.
“The celebration re-affirms the fact that their death was not in vain. It is also an avenue to encourage and appreciate Service personnel for their invaluable sacrifice to our fatherland.
“The celebration will further afford us an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made in the current war against insurgency by our Service personnel in maintaining national peace and security”.