The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence, Dr Ibrahim Abubakar Kana, and Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, has brokered peace with veterans protesting over issues on the Security Debarment Allowance.
On Monday, aggrieved retirees of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) under the aegis of Coalition for Concerned Veterans made good their threat to embark on a nationwide protest over the continued delay in the payment of their security debarment allowance, as they defied the early morning downpour and barricaded the entrance of Ministry of Defence Headquarters, Abuja.
The aggrieved retirees had about a month ago vowed to to ground all activities at the nation’s Ministry of Defence Headquarters Abuja if their demands were not met by the end of August 2022.
The Spokesperson of the Coalition for Concerned Veterans (CCV), Abiodun Durowaiye-Herberts, while accusing the Ministry of Defence of treating their members with disdain, said: “We are giving the Ministry till the end of August to commence payment for our members after which we will come out and ground activities at the ministry till we are paid.”
The aggrieved protesters, joined by some relatives of the deceased personnel, blocked access road to the Ministry located at Ship House on Olusegun Obasanjo Way in the Federal Capital Territory.
The military veterans under the aegis of the Retired Members of Nigerian Armed Forces and the Coalition of Concerned Veterans, accused the Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (Retd), of being insensitive to their plight.
Spokesperson of CVV, Abiodun Durowaiye-Herberts, vowed that they would not leave the Ministry’s entrance until their demands are met.
“We are 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,” he said.
According to a statement by Spokesperson to Minister of Defence, Mohammad Abdulkadri, the Permanent Secretary debunked the allegation that the money has been released and payment denied the Veterans by the authorities of the Ministry.
Kana said: “Being the Accounting Officer of the Ministry, I am urging you to give peace a chance and go home. We will get back to you as soon as possible and without delays.”
He pointed out that the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd) is concerned about their plight.
The Permanent Secretary assuaged the fear of the Veterans on the issue of fresh Verification Exercise before payment, stressing that the existing database of all Veterans will be used to administer payment.
The Chief of Defence Staff General Leo Irabor thanked the Permanent Secretary for resolving the impasse and appreciated the protesters for their peaceful conduct.
Spokesperson Retired Veterans, Biodun Durowde-Albert, pledged that the Veterans would go back home immediately.
The statement by Abdulkadri said that the (veterans) then cleared the barricade in front of the Ministry of Defence Headquarters, Abuja “to signal the return of peace. They said they are now better informed than before and promised to work closely with the Ministry henceforth.”