By Kingsley Omonobi
ABUJA â€” THE Nigerian Legionnaires, comprising mainly retired military and para-military personnel, are owed over N7 million from pledges and emblem sales by governments and the private sector as a result of the launching ofÂ Armed Forces Remembrance Day in the past three years.
Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Col. Micah Gaiya, disclosed this during an interactive session with newsmen as part of activities lined up for the celebration of next year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
According to Col. Gaiya, of the pledges and sales made in 2009, only N193,000 was released to the Nigerian Legions in which all have been used as hardship allowance to attend to the needs of widows and children of late veterans.
â€œSome have been pledging consistently for the past three years and have not redeemed any. Even though I wonâ€™t want to disclose their names but I think is very unfair for one to pledge and does not redeem it.
â€œWhat we spend on humanitarian jobs is far more than what we realised both as pledges and sales of emblems.
“It is very sad. It is important to note that we have been sustained by the funds we realised from the renting of our property in which we get about N6 million annually and also our petrol station on Kaduna Road in which we get N600,000 annually of which N350,000 is used for servicing.
Beside this, we have international obligation. We are affiliated to the World Veteran Federation in which we are member of standing committee African Affairs. Besides paying dues, we attend their meetings but youâ€™ll discover that we are almost on our own in all these.
â€œBy our constitution, every member should pay monthly dues of N100. It is not proper to belong to an organisation and not paying your dues. So we are going to work on that and convince them on the need to pay their dues.
â€œFurthermore, my appeal to government is for there to be an annual allocation to the Nigerian Legion. As it is, we do not receive anything from anybody. We used to get N60,000 quarterly and that was stopped three, four years ago. We are on our own and live by the goodwill of people,” he said.
â€œLet them not interfere in our work when we make arrest so that they won’t dress up like chiefs and come and release them,â€ she said.