Retired soldiers occupy Finance Ministry in protest against unpaid pensions
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RETIRED soldiers occupied the Ministry of Finance in Abuja on Wednesday in protest against non-payment of their pension arrears.
The protesting ex-servicemen demanded inclusion of officers who fought in the civil war in the military pension scheme. They also wanted speedy payment of minimum wage arrears accruing to them from 2019 till date.
They further requested that the ministry stop all deductions on pensions of all retired medical officers.
A representative of the retired soldiers, Anthony Agbas, who delivered a letter to officials at the Ministry of Finance, told Channels Television that they deserved payment of their pensions, having fought for the country.
He expressed confidence that their demands would be met without further delay.
Not the first time
This is not the first time retirees have protested in Nigeria. In November 2020, retired soldiers had blocked federal highway in Calabar, Cross River State, protesting non-payment of their pensions.
Also in November 2020, retired civilians had raised placards in front of government secretariat in Abeere, Osogbo, Osun State capital, demanding payment of pension arrears. Earlier in September 2020, retirees in Ogun State under the aegis of Nigeria Union of pensioners (NUP) had staged a peaceful protest demanding release of N1 billion monthly as against state government’s proposed N500 million for the settlement of outstanding gratuities.
In June 2020, pensioners in Imo State pensioners had protested against non-payment of their five-month pensions since Hope Uzodimma became governor in January, urging the governor to pay 80-month entitlements of some of their members.
Several states in Nigeria owe their pensioners for months.
In Africa’s most populous nation, politicians live in affluence, but retirees live in penury. The country is characterised by wastages and graft, while the majority of citizens (almost 50 percent) live in poverty, with little support from governments at various levels.