Retired military personnel have expressed anger over the non-payment of their Security Debarment Allowance weeks after the Military Pensions Board said it had commenced payment.
A Security Debarment Allowance is the money paid to retired military personnel to discourage them from using the skills they acquired while in service against the government.
Over 90,000 military retirees who retired before 2017 were originally not among those who benefited from the allowance.
The reason for their exclusion according to the Minister of Defence, Major-General Bashir Magashi (retd), was that personnel who retired before the law was signed were not entitled to the allowance.
The veterans under the Coalition Of Concerned Veterans protested for over two years before the President, Major General Buhari (retd), approved the payment of their allowance.
But the board said the delay in the payment of the allowance was due to hitches between the Central Bank of Nigeria, and disbursing banks.
The Chairman of the board, Rear Adm. Saburi Lawal, in a statement on Wednesday said the board had, however, assured the retirees that efforts were being made to resolve the observed problems and commence payment.
The statement partly read, “It has, however, come to the notice of the board that bank accounts of some of our esteemed pensioners are yet to be credited with their entitlements, especially for those banking with the Unity Bank, Access Bank, Eco Bank, Keystone Bank and Heritage Bank.
“It is pertinent to clarify that the delay is not caused by the board. It is as a result of some technical hitches experienced in the execution of the MPB’s mandate by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the commercial banks earlier mentioned.
“Notwithstanding this development, the board is assuring our esteemed pensioners that the MPB is on top of the situation as efforts are being made to ensure all eligible pensioners get paid as soon as possible.
“Furthermore, the Board is using this medium to request all members of veteran associations to please inform NOKs of deceased pensioners that payment of SDA to eligible deceased military pensioners will commence on Thursday, Jan. 19,” he said.
Commenting on this, the Media Director , Coalition of Concerned Veterans, Roy Okhidievbie, lamented that the hitches ought to have been envisaged and could have been averted.
He stated that this has further showed that veterans were not be valued in the country.
Okhidievbie said, “The Military Pension Board is a disbursing department to veteran accounts. The same board receives from CBN via instruction from Ministry of Finance and disburse to veterans account. After many years of handling veterans disbursement , even as little as mobile app being used by individuals, we will agree there are stalled transactions but when it happens you must follow up.
“ For this matter of SDA we had protest for years, if there are empathy, what was the initial intervention plan put in place to prevent this ? Because that is a technology gap which you have no control over. Why wait till complaints were raised before you issued a statement ? if they had done this before then, it would have shown that they valued the veterans .
“It is obvious that people handling this matter, lack empathy, they are not directly concern and connected. I don’t know why veteran affairs in the Ministry of Defence is not headed by a veteran , including the Military Pension Board. Until we see the veterans as a valuable to the nation, we will never understand the exigency in quick closure of our needs. “
When contacted, the CBN spokesperson, Osita Nwanisobi asked our correspondent to send a text message but he was yet to reply as of the time of filing this report.