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FG introduces bill to improve ex-servicemen’s welfare

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Magashi

The Federal government, yesterday, said it has forwarded a bill to the National Assembly for the review of the Nigerian Legion Act to a Veterans Federation of Nigeria Act to improve the welfare of ex-servicemen.

Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (Rtd), disclosed this during the Ministerial press briefing on the 2020 Armed Forces Remembrance Day at the National Defence College Abuja.

The minister said the bill has provision for institutionalising the provision for welfare needs of the veterans in line with international best practices, urging the Ninth Assembly to assist in the expeditious passage of the bill, noting that government owes it a duty to give consideration to the plight of the widows and orphans of the fallen heroes.

Magashi said, “At the root of catering for the welfare of our veterans is the payment of monthly pensions. To this end, the Military Pensions Board continues to deliver on regular pensions. Periodic Verification Exercises are carried out by the Board to ensure that sharp practices are reduced to the barest minimum.

“The Defence Health Maintenance Limited has continued to provide health insurance service for veterans, widows and eligible dependants of our fallen heroes. The Ministry of Defence will continue to empower the company for the effective discharge of her responsibilities.”

The minister explained that the collaboration between the Nigerian Legion and a private sector driven National Personal Asset Acquisition Scheme has yielded positive results, noting that the scheme has afforded the veterans the ability to purchase household and agricultural commodities at affordable, discounted prices within a flexible and structured repayment plan across the country.

He said; “I am happy to announce that the programme has taken off with the distribution at Jos in July 2018 of 400 motorcycles to the Legionnaires and food items to widows of fallen heroes. The gesture was replicated with the distribution of 2,000 motorcycles and 10,000 bags of rice in Abuja in October 2018.”

On activities slated for the event, the minister disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari would launch the 2020 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem on Wednesday 16 October 2019 at the state house, followed by the Nigerian Legion Humanitarian Day, and some religious activities.

He said the event would climax with the Wreath Laying Ceremony on Friday, January 10, next year.


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