Military Retirees Block Access To Defence Ministry Over Unpaid Allowances

Military veterans under the umbrella of the Retired Members of Nigerian Armed Forces and the Coalition of Concerned Military Veterans staged the third phase of their protests over the non-payment of their Security Debarment Allowance, among others, at the Ministry of Defence, in Abuja on Monday.

The protesters, as a result, blocked access to the Ministry of Defence located at Ship House on Olusegun Obasanjo Way in the country’s capital city.

In January this year, the retired military men had picketed the ministries of finance, defence, and the National Assembly earlier on, in pursuit of the same demand.

Ambassador Roy Okhidievbie, the National Secretary, REMENAF, who spoke to our correspondent during Monday’s protest, noted that the demonstration was to demand the payment of their security debarment allowance owed them by the Federal Government, adding that Major General Bashir Magashi (retd.) the Minister of Defence, had refused to disburse the allowances despite approval by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s (retd.) regime.

Okhidievbie said, “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 has approved the payment of this allowance, but Magashi have refused to make disbursements.”

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Abiodun Durowaiye-Herberts, the spokesperson for the group, told our correspondent 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.

Abiodun 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.”