By Kingsley Omonobi
ABUJA â€” There were indications in Abuja yesterday that thousands of retired ex-soldiers who were prevailed upon not to embark on a nationwide protest over the non payment of the arrears of the 12.5% increment in salary in 2003 and the 15% increment in 2007 to civil servants, may go back to their planned protests.
This development followed the disclosure by the House of Representatives Committee on Pensions during a visit to the Military Pensions Board, to the effect that since it called for submissions on what it will entail the Federal Government to implement the payment of the arrears to ex-soldiers, no government official has been forthcoming on the issue.
Chairman, House Committee on Pensions, Mr Rasak Babatunde had while answering questions on the delay in approving the payment of the arrears of the 12. 5% and 15% increment stated that they have slated several meetings with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation on the issue since last year and until today; nobody has shown up for the matter to be discussed.
The news soon spread like wildfire and as a result many military pensioners who were unconvinced by the Committeeâ€™s explanation, contacted Vanguard and warned that they would go back to their protest action since that is the only language Nigerian governments understand.
According to Mr Rasak, â€œwe have invited several SFGâ€™s on this matter, unfortunately, they have not availed themselves to us. We are bothered like everyone else and we believe that the earlier this problem is solved, the better for all of usâ€.
Regarding the overhead cost allocated to the Military Pensions Board which has not been released and is constituting a serious strain in the performance of the duties of the MPB, the House Chairman said, â€œThe overhead cost for the board is N849million out of which they were given N130million.
Ours is to appropriate which we did considering the workload on the board. We donâ€™t disburse the fundsâ€.