• 155 others to be paid soon says PTAD
By Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Forty-seven years after they were dismissed from service as a result of the Nigeria/Biafra Civil war, 219 retired war affected police officers from the South-east and South-south zone on Friday received their retirement benefits.
Of the number, next of kin of 57 officers who had also not been paid their death benefits were equally paid.
Speaking at the occasion of payment of pension benefits to retired war affected police officers held in Enugu, the Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), Sharon Ikeazor said another 155 who were on payroll but were being short paid would be paid in the next batch as soon as their pension benefit computation was concluded.
She said the event marked another milestone in reintegrating the hitherto neglected officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force who had suffered untold hardship over the years catering for 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 is indeed a father to all Nigerians and that his administration’s reforms under PTAD will ensure that Nigerians who spent their productive years serving their nation will not experience difficulties in getting their pensions,” she said.
While applauding the president for approving that the officers be paid without further delay, the Executive Secretary also commended the leadership of the umbrella body of the retired officers for working closely with PTAD during the period of the verification exercise.
Going down memory lane, Ikeazor said the dismissed officers had been pardoned and honourably retired from the Police Force through a Presidential Amnesty granted on May 29, 2000 by the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
To implement the government’s decision, she said a full blown verification of the pardoned officers was carried out by the defunct Police Pension Office and recently PTAD on one hand and the Police Service Commission on the other hand.
“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.
“Despite the presidential pardon and the verification of these officers, many of them remained unpaid for years. However the present administration under the president eventually approved the payment of entitlements,” she noted.
Also speaking, the President of Association of Retired War-Affected Police Officers (ARWAPO), South East/South-South, Matthew Udeh expressed appreciation to President Buhari for the gesture.
He said the association had suffered terribly even after their members were granted amnesty since 2000, noting that the appointment of Ikeazor had gone a long way in solving their problems within a short time she’s being on the saddle.
To express their delight, the association bestowed a merit award on Ikeazor.