In a statement to mark the 2019 Arm Forces Remembrance Week, Sedisyne Abiodun Durowaiye-Herberts, who is the coordinator of REMENAF and chairman BOT-REMENAF Foundation, says the armed forces remembrance has now become an annual charade laced with empty rhetoric, deceit and insensitivity of the plight of the retired personnel of the Armed Forces.
“It is saddening that, the head of this democratic dispensation is one of us and highly respected by the veterans community. However, while other pensioners’ body in the country are being invited to the State house for interactions with Mr. President, not even the HMOD, Mansur Dan-Ali, who is also one of us, has deemed it necessary to interface with us, not even once in the life of this administration.
According to him, the Armed Forces Week has become for us a charade and recurring decimal of cosmetic speech and lip service by politicians and military top brass.
“Why pretend they care so much for the dead when we, the living and retired members of the Country’s military suffer and live in abject conditions as a result of failed promises, absence of adequate welfare schemes, non-implementation of enhanced pension approval, and lack of institutional provision for genuine dialogue”
He said worthy of mention is the untold hardship and deprivations the surviving families of the so called ‘fallen heroes’ are going through. “This perfidy against those who have nobly sacrificed the better part of their lives to serve this nation is highly sickening and disgusting,” he added.
Durowaiye-Herberts explained that the often demonstrated show of pharisaical mien is betrayed by the lack of commitment to the very essence and objects of the ceremony; honor to the dead by showing how much honor has been bestowed on the living, retired and serving personnel of the Armed Forces and surviving families of the fallen heroes.
“Retirees often regret that their service in Nigerian Armed Forces and sacrifices were mistakes they wished never happened having invested their youthful age for the service of their fatherland with little or no regard for their welfare. Although, various governments often celebrate during these weeks, it however serves as a bitter reminder of neglect, agony and insincerity of government and mistakes of the past for these retirees and fallen heroes’ and their families.”
“Who are the living heros being celebrated today without the presence of the likes of Pa Mele Ture, the 98 year old Nonagenerian and oldest surviving Nigerian Civil/World War II veteran from Gombe State, who has never been mentioned by successive administrations as one of the living heros deserving of National honor.
He added: So also is Pa Thomas Onuora, the 86 year old Octogenarian from Enugu, who has never been paid pension in his entire life after serving his father’s land, but thankfully, the MPB Chairman has recently began the process of correcting the anomaly?
He said lot of protests, presentations, discussions and conferences have been held to make military pensioners grievances known to previous governments which resulted to the approval of the harmonized pension by the current government in 2018.
“We therefore use the occasion of this Year’s Remembrance Week to appeal to the Federal Government to please implement the approved Harmonized Pension as promised with effect from November, 2017 (as all efforts to reach the Presidency has proved abortive).