When we talk about those who kept Nigeria as one with their precious blood, either wounded, maimed or died in active service, then military pensioners should be respected and honoured as Nigerian national heroes.
The three arms of the military, Army, Navy and Airforce, fought bravely and suffered a lot in the battle fields during the civil war, and with our blood, we were able to keep the unity of the country. Having done that, in our old age, we need to be cared for as other developed countries treat their veterans.
My bitter experience started on my arrival in Nigeria after a 12-year sojourn in the United States of America. I discovered that my name had been dropped from Military Pension Board (MPB) pay roll for not showing up at many verification exercises. However, this has now been restored after being verified, but what I went through, particularly travelling to Abuja to get verified was not an easy task. We all know how terrible our roads are, and we expect our veterans to travel from all over the country to Abuja before they can do something at the military pension board office. This is totally different from how military pensioners are treated abroad.
Most military pensioners who have health challenges have to travel all day before getting to our Military Pension Board office at Dutse Aladji, Kubwa in Abuja, and they find somewhere to sleep before proceeding to the office in the morning.
However, I would suggest that four liaison offices be created for the Military Pension Board in order to make life easier for military pensioners, particularly those who have health challenges.
I want to suggest one in Ibadan, to serve all the South West and parts of the South South states. One should also be in Enugu, to serve all South East and parts of South South states. One should also be established in Jos, to serve all North East states and in Kaduna, to serve all the North West states.
- W O Adeyemi (Rtd)