The 2024 proposed budget for the Ministry of Defense includes a request for N49.57 million to establish a databank for veterans, a development that comes approximately 15 years after the late President Umaru Yar’Adua urged the ministry to create such a database. Nairametrics, in its findings, reported on this initiative.
In 2008, during the launch of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem in Abuja, President Yar’Adua emphasized the need for the Ministry of Defense to expedite the completion of a Data Bank for all retired and retiring military personnel. He underscored that the welfare of ex-servicemen and women was a top priority for his administration, and the databank would address issues related to pension and gratuity payments in the country.
Fast forward to July 2021, and a former Chief of Air Staff, Oladayo Amao, approved the immediate establishment of a Directorate of Veterans Affairs. This move aimed to enhance welfare packages for Nigerian Air Force (NAF) veterans and their families. At the Armed Forces Remembrance Day on November 11, 2023, military veterans advocated for improved welfare, highlighting economic challenges faced after years of dedicated service to Nigeria.
In a letter addressed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the ‘Able Retired Soldiers’ group, representing veterans, highlighted concerns that some members of the 63 Nigerian Army intake had not received pension or any other benefits more than four decades after the end of the Nigerian Civil War.
Earlier, the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, reassured Nigerian veterans of the Federal Government’s commitment to providing enhanced welfare. During a meeting with the Executives of the Veteran Association of Nigeria in Abuja, he mentioned ongoing efforts to establish an all-inclusive structure for the welfare of veterans and their families.
Examining the broader budget, the Ministry of Defence’s total expenditure is set at N78.52 billion, with N18.95 billion allocated for personnel costs. The ministry has earmarked N229.53 billion for the repair of hospitals and health centers, N1.17 billion for barracks repairs, and N107.54 million for office building renovations.
Additionally, the ministry is seeking N120 million for anti-personnel landmine demining in contaminated areas of northeast Nigeria and another N120 million for the renovation of military cemeteries. Other allocations include N5.71 million for upgrading the Army Affairs department’s registry and establishing a files mail tracker, as well as N3.3 million for upgrading the record and registry.
Further, N16.25 million has been allocated for inspecting Nigerian Army facilities and barracks accommodation nationwide, while N125.87 million is designated for implementing the performance management system (PMS) within the ministry.
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