Pension alert: Ex-Biafra police officers go wild in Enugu

From Chidi Nnadi, Enugu

Ex-Biafra police officers from the South-East and South-South states yesterday went wild in joy as they started receiving alerts for their pensions 17 years after former President Olusegun Obasanjo granted them amnesty.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Wednesday approved the payment of pensions to the dismissed Biafra police officers who fought in the 30-month Nigeria-Biafra civil war which ended in 1970.

Over 400 of the officers who gathered at the Ingrace Event Centre, Rangers Avenue, Independence Layout, Enugu, venue of the flag off of the pension payments of retired war-affected police officers danced in joy as the President of the Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria, Mr Fidelis Oyakhilome pressed the button of the instant transfer machine and they started receiving alerts of the payment in their various bank accounts.

Saturday Sun gathered that some of the retired officers actually started getting alerts for the payment of the pension on Thursday night with some of them getting close to half a million naira.

In her speech on the occasion, the Executive Secretary of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, said that she was highly elated to commence the payment of pension benefits to the retired war-affected police officers.

According to her, “162 officers who have never been on the payroll and 57 next of kin who have also not been paid their death benefits will be paid today,” while 155 others who are on the payroll, but were being short-paid would be paid in the next batch as soon as their pension benefit computation was concluded.

“You would all recall that Nigeria witnessed an ugly civil war between July, 1967 and January, 1970 and as a result of that unfortunate period, some members of the Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police and the paramilitary officers who joined the secessionist were dismissed from service.

“After many years in the limbo, they were pardoned and honourably retired from the Nigeria Police Force through a presidential amnesty granted on 29th May, 2000 by the administration of the then President Olusegun Obasanjo,” she recalled.

Mrs Ikeazor disclosed that to implement the Federal Government’s decision on the pardoned officers, a full blown verification of the pardoned officers was carried out by the defunct Police Pension Office; recently by PTAD and the Police Service Commission.

“The verification exercise conducted in late 2014 and early 2015 resulted in identifying about 460 of the police officers who were caught up in the civil war.

“Despite the presidential pardon and the verification of these officers, many of them remained unpaid for years,” she said, adding that President Buhari, however, this week graciously gave approval for the payment of the pension entitlements to the affected officers and their next of kin.

“Today marks another milestone in reintegrating the hitherto neglected officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force who have suffered untold hardship over the years catering for their needs and that of their dependents.

“This represents another decision by the current Federal Government to bring closure to the painful legacies of the civil war, and indeed a clear demonstration that President Muhammadu Buhari is indeed a father to all Nigerians and that his administration’s reforms under PTAD will ensure that Nigerians who spent the productive years of their lives serving their nation will not experience difficulties in getting their pensions,” she said.

She thanked the president for his magnanimity in approving the payment of the pension without further delay.

Also speaking, the President of Association of Retired War-Affected Police Officers from South-East and South-South states, Mr Matthew Udeh, thanked God for keeping the members of his association alive to see the day.

Udeh also thanked President Buhari for approving the recommendations presented to him by Mrs Ikeazor, as well as authorizing her to pay full retirement benefits to the war-affected police officers in compliance with the letters and spirit of the presidential amnesty granted to them by President Obasanjo.

“We commend President Buhari for approving the allocation of funds to the executive secretary for this payment.

“Our last port of call is on the Executive Secretary, Sharon Ikeazor who expeditiously packaged our case, presented it to President Buhari, and followed it up until President Buhari gave his assent and blessing, within two months of her assumption of office,” Udeh said.

Also retired police DIG and now President of the Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria, Mr Fidelis Oyakhilome, thanked President Buhari for making it possible for the retired Biafra police officers to get their pension many years after they have been granted amnesty.

He also thanked Mrs Ikeazor for standing in for the officers. The pensioners ostensibly happy over what Mrs Ikeazor did for them bestowed on her a special merit award just as they also gave her the title name of Odi Uko na Mba, meaning one that is rare in a community.


View Comments (7)

  • campaign strategy of the north to the south east.the politics of the Niger bridge and south east roads.how ever I appreciation pmb.south east deserves equity.

  • What are they jubilating about - 47 years after? Most of the Biafra police and army men and women have died long time ago. What a shame. This will never stop the restoration of Biafra nation. The FG should take their pension. You don't need it now.

  • You guys're always ungrateful. GEJ,adopted son of igbo wastd 6yrs & nothin 2 shw.PMB spent only 2yrs & payed 40yrs debt

  • During the Biafran war, thousands of Igbos serving in the Nigerian armed forces switched over to fight on the side of their Biafran brethren. The then head of state, Yakubu Gowon announced their sack. The war was later won and lost.

    When President Obasanjo came on board, he approved the conversion of the sack of Biafran ex-service men to retirement, making them eligible for pension and other benefits. That decision was officially gazzeted.

    During the immediate past govt, the Otueke born Zoologist, President Jonathan, continued the payment of their pension in batches. In fact, Jonathan, it was, who made sure the ex-Biafran police and military men were treated as though they served 35 years on Nigerian side before retiring.

    The report that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the payment of pension to Biafran ex-service men is nothing but one of those demonic propaganda for which the Buhari govt has come to be identified with.

    What happened few days ago was that the office of the Pension Board known as PTAD stumbled upon 167 names, (just 167) of the Biafran ex-service men who were cleared since 2014 but yet to be paid.

    Just 167!

    Buhari #ChildrenOfChange simply hijacked the story and went to the village CNN square with the very misleading impression that Buhari has approved the payment of pension to Biafran ex-service men.

    What is Buhari's business with the routine duty of the Pension Board?

    Why should any right thinking Igbo man or woman expect Ndigbo to roll out the drum for Buhari simply because the Pension Board stumbled upon the names of 167 Biafrans who were biometically cleared to receive pension years ago especially after what this same Buhari did to Igbo youths in Abia state few weeks ago with his janjaweed army??

    Have we suddenly lost our dignity as Ndigbo?

    Why should we praise an ethno-religious bigot who was busy directing World Bank to his Northern region at the exact time he was directing his murderous army to our own region to kill, maim and drown us??

  • the nigerian state/government has never upheld the no victor,no vanquish declaration by yakubu gowon.if there was good faith the vocabularies pardon,amnesty etc wouldn't come to play and all former federal workers(military/paramilitary and civil service) who survived the war would have been absorbed without protcol.but it seems certain things are set aside and used as a 'joker' when necessary.to either douse tension,divide,sabotage a renewal of the struggle or political gallery.and besides how honest were the computations to give the real financial entitlements.how promotions were they denied and therefore at what status are they been paid.

  • Any money paid is Biafran money- south feed north- it is over. There is nothing call ex-Biafran officers- they are retired Biafran officers. The ultimante payment is the God given Republic Of Biafra of the five south east states, and by extension, Niger Delta Republic of south south and Oduduwa Republic of south west. The political name Nigeria is history, it is Yugoslavia of Africa- this is its last hours- it is irreversible. The last enemy will vacate South- dead or alive. God Is With Us!!!

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