By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
Retired Military officers of Ekiti State origin, who retired voluntarily from the Nigerian Military after prosecuting the civil war of 1967 -1970 have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to commence payment of pension to their members and rescue them from poverty and untimely death.
They lamented that over 60 of their members out of the 240 at the initial stage, had died due to poor medical conditions with over 70 suffering severe ailments without financial help to address their predicaments.
Addressing journalists in Ado-Ekiti,the Ekiti State capital on Thursday under the aegis of Voluntarily Retired Military Officers, 1978-1979 , Ekiti chapter, its Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Bello Oseni, called on President Buhari to honour his 2015 pledge to extend payment of pension to all retired officers that partook in the civil war.
Oseni appreciated the President for remembering them in 2015 upon ascending the throne of governance, after 36 years of neglect by successive military and democratic governments .
He said President Buhari having been elected in 2015 summoned members to Abuja and instructed the Military Pensions Board to verify their documents, where they were certified to be legitimate military officers.
“But since then, we have not heard anything again. We commend President Muhammadu Buhari for remembering us after four decades of neglect , but we appeal that this pledge should be implemented in due course.
“We started this struggle with 240 members, today we are 180 with about 70 of nursing severe ailments and only praying to get over.
“We were at the battlefield for over three years. We fought for the unity of this nation . We kept Nigeria one and we deserved to be taken care of.
“We have no regret serving our fatherland, but we are surprised that those who fought a nation one and rescue it from disintegration could be treated this way. Helping us at this stage will send a signal of patriotism to Nigerians, because all we did was out of patriotic spirit.
“But we believe in the integrity of President Buhari. He is a retired Military officer with human face. He knew what it means for somebody to fight a civil war . He understands the language of war.
“It was because of President Buhari’s passionate spirit that spurred him to invite us to Abuja in 2015 as a honour. We plead that he fulfils all his promises to us,so that we can reap the fruits of our labour.
“We pray that Nigeria remains together , so that the labour of our founding fathers and war heroes, including us we not be in vain”, he said.