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FG begins payment of pension arrears

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For military pensioners who have been clamouring for the payment of the arrears of new pension scheme announced in July 2010, it is good news as the Military Pensions Board, which oversees the welfare of retired officers and men of the Nigerian military, has started the payment.

Chairman, Military Pensions Board, Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Rabiu Dabo said on Monday in Abuja that the first three-month (quarterly) tranche of payment of the arrears has hit the count of all the affected retirees .

Air Vice Marshal Dabo also announced that the bio-metric verification of all pensioners, which was suspended because of the insecurity occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency will be conducted immediately after the elections. .

The payment of the pension arrears has thus ended the street protests and sit-ins organised by some of the military retirees last year. In fact, during this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebrations in Abuja, they threatened to disrupt the ceremony until a meeting was held where they were dissuaded to stand down.
 
The federal government had in July 2010 announced an upward review of pensions by 53 per cent. However, it was not immediately implemented thereby accumulating huge arrears.
However, in August 2013 the government approved the payment of only 33 per cent pension increase without recourse to arrears. And to reinforce this, the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission released a circular late last year to back the new position.

But due to the huge financial outlay of the arrears, the government opted for quarterly tranche payment of the arrears with the first tranche paid in the first week of last month (February).

The chairman also announced the clearing of all arrears of payment to Next-of-Kins (relations of officers who died in active service between, 2011 to 2013. .

According to Dabo, “the task of administering military pension and death benefits is very enormous because of pensioners unending demands and complaints. The major challenge however is to ensure that the rightful demands of military pensioners are taken care of as well as those of the Next-of-Kins. But through unwavering commitment, we have been able to record some notable achievement including improved synergy with veteran bodies, that is the Nigerian Legion and Retired Army, navy and Air Force Officers Club, proactive liaison activities with government agencies and other military pension stakeholders for lasting solution to pensioners welfare and prompt payment of gratuities and death benefits to Net-of-Kins and inclusion of payroll of retirees within one month of receiving necessary documents.

“Others include the extension of medical services to military pensioners within the newly established Medical Reception Station (MRS) for the board and accreditation of the MRS by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). .

On the verification of military pensioners, Air Vice Marshal Dabo stated that “all arrangements are on ground to hold it after the elections. It has not been held until now because of the security situation in the country.



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