Military veterans under the aegis of the Retired Members of Nigerian Armed Forces and the Coalition of Concerned Military Veterans staged the third phase of their protests over the non-payment of their Security Debarment Allowance, among others, at the Ministry of Defence, in Abuja on Monday.
The protesters blocked the Ministry of Defence located at Ship House on the Olusegun Obasanjo Way in the country’s capital city.
The retired military men had in January this year picketed the ministries of finance, defence, and the National Assembly earlier in the pursuit of the same demand.
National Secretary, REMENAF, Ambassador Roy Okhidievbie, who spoke to our correspondent during the Monday protest, said, “We have had meetings with Magashi, but he appears to be headstrong, heartless, and unperturbed concerning the grievances of retired military officers, as he never paid nor showed any interest or concern to pay these allowances, especially the Security Debarment Allowance.
“Interestingly, the Buhari regime has approved the payment of this allowance, but Magashi has refused to make disbursements.”
Another protester, Abiodun Durowaiye-Herberts, told one our correspondents, “We’ll be sleeping over at this place until Magashi accedes to our demands.”
A woman, Anna Nanven, whose husband, a corporal, was killed by Boko Haram terrorists during an attack on a military barrack in Borno State in 2015, told our correspondent that she had only received one allowance disbursement since her husband’s demise.
Meanwhile, the protesting veterans rejected an offer made in a memo by Magashi to revert to them in two weeks on the progress made concerning their demand for disbursement of their Security Debarment Allowance.
In the memo obtained by The PUNCH, the ministry noted that it was committed to finding a lasting solution to their grievances, adding that steps were being taken to ensure the timely implementation of the approved SDA by Buhari to all concerned veterans.
The memo, signed by the Director of Joint Services, Mrs O.M. Mustapha, on behalf of the defence minister, referenced the Monday, September 26 protest by the military veterans.
Speaking with our correspondent over the rejection of the memo, Okhidievbie noted that the veterans rejected the memo by the Ministry of Defence because it lacks feasibility.