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Minister launches ID cards for military pensioners

THE Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, on Tuesday in Abuja, launched two identity cards for military retirees.

They are: Pensioners’ and Defence Health Maintenance/National Insurance Scheme official identity cards.

The minister launched the identity cards shortly after addressing a news conference to herald activities marking the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day.

Dan-Ali also used the occasion to announce that payment of pension to military retirees had been harmonised, and was now being paid promptly and regularly.

He promised that the ministry would continue to engage its pensioners through relevant organs like the Nigerian Legion, Veteran Affair Division and Military Pension Board, to meet government obligations to them.

“To ensure that our pensioners are identified and ghost pensioners’ syndrome eradicated, the Military Pension Board has evolved an identity card scheme.

“The identity card will also serve as a debit card and grant the pensioners online real time access to their accounts,’’ he said.

On health insurance, Dan-Ali said that the veterans would enjoy the scheme at no cost, while wives of deceased personnel and their eligible children were now entitled to its benefits.

“I therefore, enjoin our veterans to take advantage of this initiative,’’ the minister said.

He said that in its efforts to ensure that fallen heroes have a befitting resting place, the Defence Ministry had embarked on a phased rehabilitation of military cemeteries and war graves nationwide.

“Also, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in conjunction with Nigeria has erected a Memorial Cenotaph in honour of Nigerian soldiers, who fought and died in the first and second world wars at National Cemetery, Abuja,’’ he said.

He said that the Armed Forces Remembrance Day was organised to honour fallen heroes, who had paid the supreme sacrifices in the first, second world wars and Nigerian civil war.

He added that the day would also be used to honour personnel, who lost their lives in the ongoing war against terrorism in the North-East, which he said, was threatening the “corporate existence of our dear fatherland.’’

“The 2017 celebration will provide us a unique opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made in the ongoing war against insurgency by our service personnel to maintain peace and security,’’ he said.

He described the theme of the 2017 Remembrance Day “Appreciating the Resilience of the Nigerian Armed Forces’’ as apt, “considering the successes recorded by our troops in spite of economic situation in the country.’’

He said that other activities lined up to mark the event included the Nigerian Legion Humanitarian Day, religious services and launch of the armed forces remembrance emblem by President Muhammadu Buhari, on November 15.

He said that the celebration would climax with the laying of wreath at the National Remembrance Arcade on January 15, 2017.

All the service chiefs including, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Gabriel Olonisakin, representatives of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris and head of para-military organisations attended the briefing.