September 27, (THEWILL) – Military veterans under the umbrella of Retired Members of Nigerian Armed Forces (REMENAF) and the Coalition of Concerned Military Veterans (CCV) on Monday, stormed the Ministry of Defence in Abuja, to protest over the non-payment of Security Debarment Allowance, among others.
The protesters in their scores blocked the access road to the Ministry of Defence located at Ship House on Olusegun Obasanjo Way, which disrupted human and vehicular movements in the area.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Ambassador Roy Okhidievbie, who is the National Secretary, REMENAF, said that the demonstration was to demand the payment of their security debarment allowance owed them by the Federal Government.
He lamented that the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd.) had refused to disburse the allowances despite approval 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 regime had approved the payment of this allowance, but Magashi has refused to make disbursements.”
Also, the spokesperson for the CCV, Abiodun Durowaiye-Herberts, stated that Monday’s protest was focused on the non-payment of the Security Debarment Allowance, adding that they were determined to sleep over at the entrance of the Ministry of Defence.
According to him, “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 accedes to our demands.”
A young woman, Anna Nanven, whose husband, a Corporal, was killed by Boko Haram terrorists during an attack on a military barracks in Borno State, in 2015, lamented that she had only received one allowance disbursement since she lost her husband
Mrs Nanven 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, 22, 20, 18, 15, and seven years old, and the two eldest, both girls, that are done with High 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.”
The retired military men had in January this year, picketed the ministries of finance, defence, and the National Assembly, in pursuit of the same demand.