19 November 2011, Sweetcrude, PORT HARCOURT – The leadership of military pensioners in the South-South region of Nigeria has threatened to blow up pipelines and disrupt the peace of the area if the Federal Government refuses to commence the payment of the 53 percent pension arrears owed them since four years.
“We have been trained in the art of warfare. We have knowledge of combat of any sort and we can blow oil pipelines in the region and cripple the economy of the nation. We want to say that we can be more deadly than Boko Haram, so we should not be taken for granted,” the group said..
Spitting fire Friday, after a four-hour meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, leader of the Old Soldiers, Maj. Danjuma Kibo in a statement also signed by National Secretary Capt. Don Pedro said the government was “taking the veterans for a ride”.
Operating under the aegis of Nigerian Military Pensioners Welfare Association (NMPWA), the group said it was “seriously disturbed that the government would acknowledge early this year that military pensioners are being owed 53 percent arrears only for nothing to be done or heard”.
The statement continued: “We were told by the Directorate of Military Pensions (DMP) around April this year that the arrears would be paid as soon as budget was approved and at the approval of the budget that the money was being prepared in July for payment but nothing has been heard since then.
“This is the height of inconsistency by a nation that we invested our youths in. If these crops of leaders were not around when we fought for the unity of this country, at least some of the senators, traditional rulers and opinion leaders were around then.
“We have watched with dismay the vulgar display of ill gotten wealth by some unscrupulous politicians, even as we and our families wallow in penury as we are being deprived of our constitutional entitlements.
“We do not want to become tools in the hands of some enemies of the present administration who have approached us variously to act negatively as a prelude to bringing down this government. We cannot hold on forever because of the level of poverty and hunger that has accosted us.”
The ex-servicemen lamented that “ex-militants are being paid a monthly salary of N65,000 but ex-servicemen who were either maimed or amputated are paid N20,000 monthly as pension” and that families of soldiers killed during the war have not all been compensated.
“Repentant militants are sent overseas for more training to empower them but the retired military pensioners have nothing to show for their years of patriotism. Children are out of school, families have been broken because of lack of money. We cannot wait forever as we shall soon strike and wait for the consequences,” they also said.