Military begins verification of pensioners in October
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Ismaila Aliyu, made this known in Abuja while delivering a keynote address at the military pensions stakeholders interactive session in Abuja yesterday. He said that the exercise scheduled for 6th – 20th October 2015 “is crucial in assisting the board to determine the number of eligible military pensioners.”
The permanent secretary who was represented by David Gande, the Director of Joint Services Department in the ministry, stated that, “the cooperation of all military pensioners and other stakeholders” to ensure that the exercise is successful is paramount.
“We have witnessed a lot of agitation and complaints by military retirees over some issues regarding their pensions. The plight of our retired soldiers is a great concern to the government. The present administration, in consolidating the gains of the past efforts concerning the welfare is working hard to find lasting solutions to some of these challenges.
“The recent commencement of 33 percent quarterly payment of pension increment arrears is one of such efforts demonstrated by the government in solving retiree’s welfare needs. Despite these efforts, the agitations continued mainly as a result of break in communication,” he said.
While answering questions from journalists, the Chairman of Military Pensions Board, Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Dabo, said the exercise would go on without hitches as measures are put in place to ensure its success.”
He said even though the retirees face a lot of challenges, some of their demands are based on misinformation or inadequate knowledge of the intricacy of the policy. For instance, “As in the constitution, whenever there is any salary increment for federal workers, pensions also need to be increased. It did not say it should be increased at the same percentage, however, there is necessity for that increment and the constitution also says that if there is no increment in salaries, every five years interval, pension allowances need to be reviewed.
“Most of the complaints, particularly the issue of the 33 percent or 53 percent pension increment, the government has approved 33 percent as a result of the increment of salaries for 2010.
“The arrears is what we are paying on quarterly basis. The balance of 20 percent remains an issue but we are going to discuss it here at the meeting. Representatives of the salaries and wages commission are here, so we will talk about the issues, they will tell us why the arrears is 33 percent and not 53 percent,” he said.