Some alumni of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), who are members of 35 Regular Course, has cautioned the federal government and the military authorities not to neglect retired personnel of the armed forces.
The retired military officers, who also demanded the review of the Armed Forces Pension Act, specifically said the abandonment of retirees from security agencies could pose a danger to the country basically because of the skills they had acquired while in service.
Speaking through the immediate past president of the association at the 40th anniversary of the course in Abuja during weekend, Emmanuel Golit, a retired Air Commodore, they called for immediate improvement in the welfare of retired security personnel of the various security agencies.
He noted that the retirees could become a willing tool in the hands of criminal groups if left to contend with hunger, adding that in many countries worldwide, retirees are often involved in various forms of government services after their retirement.
Golit said, “The military, anywhere is the foundation of the nation-states. If there’s no security in any country, nothing thrives. There will be no industry, no parliament, nothing will work.
“Now, having served your country diligently, up to the point of retirement, it is incumbent on the government to see to the welfare of members of the Security agencies, particularly because this you will have skills that can be borrowed, that can be paid for by insurgents.
“If the government doesn’t treat them when this kills you, you can name them. So for such a group, you need to debar them security-wise, from selling their skills, either to bandits, terrorists, or other non-state actors because if we leave this group hungry or you don’t care for them a lot of strange things can happen.
“The government from time to time should review the welfare conditions of members of the armed forces and other security agencies. For instance, the Nigerian Armed Forces Act has been there for so long, since the 70s.
“There has been no deliberate effort to review this document to see how we can add new things that can assist retired members of the armed forces. In other climes, you don’t stay in the armed forces for up to 10 years or you’re retired and you are abandoned.
Daily Trust reports that various retired military officers’ groups including Coalition for Concerned Veterans and the Civil War veterans have been demanding improved welfare and payment of their pensions and gratuities.
But speaking further, Golit corroborated their demands, saying “They (retired officers) must look for somewhere to fix you so that you can continue to help your country. That way, it is beneficial to the government, it is beneficial to the citizens, and that way our country will remain safe.”
On his part, the newly elected president of the association, Danladi Bausa, a retired Air Commodore lauder the Chief Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa and the Minister of Defence, Abubakar Badaru, for steps taken so far to improve the welfare of retirees.
He said, “They have done quite a lot to improve the veterans’ welfare. They have been carrying veterans along since they came into office.”