Buhari approves N134.7bn for military veterans

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the sum of N134.7 billion for the payment of Security Debarment Allowance (SDA) to all veterans.

The President announced this on Wednesday while launching the 2023 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem and Appeal fund at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa.

While also announcing the donation of N10 million to the Nigerian Legion, on behalf of the Federal Government, President Buhari reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to the welfare of veterans by ensuring prompt payment of their pension and other entitlements, which had been demonstrated by his approval of the payment of SDA to veterans with effect from 2017.

He further commended the efforts of the Nigerian Armed Forces in confronting banditry, kidnappings, molestations and killing of innocent citizens head-on, adding that these ‘‘vices alien to our culture’’ are on the decline.

According to him, normalcy is gradually returning to some affected parts of the country due to the methodical approach and increasing military campaign to decimate subversive elements involved in destructive activities such as ‘‘in the insurgency in North East, militancy in the Niger Delta’’ as well as ethnic and religious tensions in some communities.

The president also urged on business enterprises to appreciate the sacrifice of servicemen and gallant troops by extending support to them in form of discounts and rebates upon purchases and services rendered, to boost the morale of members of the Armed Forces and assist them in carrying out their statutory responsibilities.

While reassuring that he will hand over to the next generation of leaders, a Nigeria that is free from insecurity, President Buhari expressed optimism that with the gallantry and sacrifices exhibited by men and women of the Armed Forces in the campaign against insurgency and other Internal Security Operations, the nation will be returned to normalcy as they continue to battle decisively, all the security challenges.

The president explained that the choice of January 15 as the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration was symbolic because it marked the end of the Nigerian Civil War.

He, therefore, urged all citizens to avoid detrimental actions and statements that threaten national unity and integration but rather engage in positive actions that unite the country.

In his remarks, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, who also promised financial donation, on behalf of the National Assembly, to the Nigerian Legion, commended the President for giving ‘‘maximum support’’ to the Nigerian Armed Forces.

On his part, the Minister of Defense, Bashir Magashi, assured that his ministry would continue to ensure the prompt payment of the entitlements and death benefits of the deceased servicemen.

He, however, appealed to well-meaning corporate and Non-Governmental Organisations to prioritise the alleviation of the hardship faced by widows and orphans of the departed heroes.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor, on behalf of the Armed Forces; the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, on behalf of the intelligence community; and the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, on behalf of the Bankers’ Committee; all pledged donations to the Nigerian legion at the Emblem Appeal Launch.

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