From Desmond Mgboh, Kano
Publicity Secretary, Retired Army, Navy and Air Force Officers Association of Nigeria (RANAD), Captain Yusuf Abdulmalik (retd) has described the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration as a cosmetic display of affection by the present government, insisting that the administration has failed to address the plights of ex- military officers in Nigeria.
Speaking to Saturday Sun, he explained that while the various arms of governments take advantage of the occasion to mislead the public about their concern for the veterans and their families, very little attention is extended to them for the rest of the year. He said he has since stopped attending the annual Remembrance Day ceremony.
He accused the Federal Government of negligence, poor implementation of the various approved wage increments, unpaid arrears and other forms of policy insensitivity
He lamented that though President Muhammad Buhari and the Minister of Defence, Major Bashir Salihi Magashi (retired) are both ex- service officers, the benefits of their exalted positions have not been felt by their colleagues, adding that several efforts to seek their intervention have not been fruitful.
Abdulmalik recalled the recent protest by military veterans to press home their demands, pointing out that the protest was informed by deplorable and heart-breaking conditions being experienced by the veterans.
“Every year, they assemble at different locations for the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, they make fine speeches, they make donations, they launch the emblems and that is where it all ends. And after that, the veterans continue with their suffering. Even the money realized from the donations, nobody knows where it ends”
He said the occasion of the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day, therefore, should be an opportunity for the administration and its key actors to make up for the past misdeeds and improve the welfare of ex-servicemen.
“This is a moment for them to search their conscience, to ask the right questions, ensure effective implementation of approved payments to the living retirees. That way, even those of us who are gone to the other side, would have genuine reasons to celebrate with them on the occasion of the Remembrance Day,” he said.