Retired war Affected Police Officers following the payment of their pension benefits by the Federal Government through the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate in Enugu on Friday.
Speaking during the occasion, the Secretary, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Barrister Sharon Ikpeazu disclosed that in this particular batch of payment 57 next of kin who have not been paid their death benefits were among those that were paid yesterday while 162 officers will be pay-rolled.
The others, she further hinted, who are on the payroll but were being short paid would also be paid in the next batch as soon as their pension benefit computation is concluded.
She noted that the development rep rests 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 was indeed a father to all Nigerians.
“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 to 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 was 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 stated.
Going down memory lane, Ikeazor recalled that Nigeria witnessed an ugly civil war between July 1967 and January 1970, saying as a result of that unfortunate period, some members of the Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police and the Paramilitary Officers who took part with the secessionist were dismissed.
After many years in Limbo, she further noted, they were pardoned and honourably retired from the Nigerian Police Force through a Presidential Amnesty granted on 29th May 2000 by the Administration of the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo.
He, however, expressed regrets that despite the presidential pardon and verification of these officers, many of them remained unpaid for years and expressed happiness that the present administration under President Buhari has graciously given approval for the payment of pension entitlement to the officers and their next of kin.
She further hinted 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 and the recently “PTAD on one hand and the Police Service Commission on the other,” adding that 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.