47 Years After, Retired Biafra Police Officers Receive PensionFeatured, Latest News, News Saturday, October 21st, 2017
From Ignatius Okpara, Enugu
(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A total of 219 retired war affected police officers from South- East Nigeria, on Friday went home smiling as they received their pension from the federal government, 47 years after.
African Examiner reports that the affected ex-police officers were those in the Nigeria Police force as at 1967 but joined the Biafra police at the break of the three years Nigeria civil war which ended in 1970.
They were not re absorbed into the Nigeria police at the end of the war, while other public and civil servants were re absorbed.
It would be recalled that ex- President Olusegun Obasanjo granted them amnesty on May 29 2000 and commuted them to retirement, but they had hiccups in receiving their benefits till president Mohammadu Buhari recently approved of it.
Flagging off payment of the pension in Enugu, Executive Secretary of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, PTAD Mrs. Sharon Ikazor disclosed that the batch of payment included 162 officers who were not on the payroll and 57 next of kin who have also not been paid their death benefits.
According to her, the other 155 officers who are on payroll but were being short paid would be paid in the next batch as soon as their pension benefit computation is concluded.
The PTDA boss, said “This represents another decision by the federal government to bring closure to the painful legacies of the civil war.”
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, president of the Affected War Police officers, ARWAPO, Barrister Mathew Udeh, applauded president Buhari, past Presidents Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan; Sharon Ikeazor and all those who made the payment came to reality.
As a way expressing their appreciation, the ex-Biafra Police officers, had during payment bestowed Chieftaincy title on Mrs. Ikeazor for her peculiar role in bringing the payment to rapid fruition.
A one time Chairman of Nigeria Drug law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA and chairman of Retired Nigeria Police Officers, Mr. Fidelis Oyakilome was present at the ceremony which was emotional .
Meanwhile, the apex Igbo socio cultural organization, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has reacted to the approval for the payment by President Muhammadu Buhari,
President-General of the body, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, said weekend in Enugu that although it was a good development, the approval was justice denied for too long.
According to him, “It’s been 47 years since the war ended and many of the people who should benefit from this pension are dead already. That goes to show you how the South-East region has been marginalised and that is why we are harping on it.
“It’s not good to be treated like a second class citizen in a country you are supposed to belong. We thank Buhari for this approval but he must tackle the issue of Igbo marginalisation headlong. Buhari must understand that justice delayed is justice denied.” Nwodo declared.
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