Some retired military officers, on Monday, defied early morning downpour to stage the third phase of their protest at the headquarters of Ministry of Defence, Abuja.
The protesters lamented the non-payment of their Security Debarment Allowance, among others.
The aggrieved protesters, joined by some relatives of the deceased personnel, blocked access road to the Ministry located at Ship House on Olusegun Obasanjo Way in the Federal Capital Territory.
The military veterans under the aegis of the Retired Members of Nigerian Armed Forces and the Coalition of Concerned Veterans, accused the Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (Retd), of being insensitive to their plight.
Addressing reporters during the protest, spokesman of the CVV, Abiodun Durowaiye-Herberts, vowed that they would not leave the ministry’s entrance until their demands are met.
He said they had already made arrangement to sleep overnight if the situation warrants.
“We are here alongside our wives and children, and the widows of late military personnel and veterans who died in service, some of whom died fighting Boko Haram terrorists. We’ll be sleeping over at this place until the Minister of Defence, Magashi accede to our demands,” he said.
On his part, the National Secretary of RMNAF, Roy Okhidievbie, who explained that the demonstration was to demand the payment of their security debarment allowance owed them by the Federal Government.
He accused the Minister of refusing to disburse the allowances despite approval by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We have had meetings with the Defence Minister, Magashi, but he appears to be headstrong, heartless, and unperturbed concerning the grievances of retired military officers, as he never paid nor showed any interest or concern to pay these allowances, especially the Security Debarment Allowance.”
“Interestingly, President Buhari-led administration has approved the payment of this allowance, but Magashi have refused to make disbursements,” Okhidievbie said.
Anna Nanven, whose husband, a Corporal, was killed by Boko Haram terrorists during an attack on a military barracks in Borno State, 2015, told our correspondent that she had only received one allowance disbursement since her husband’s demise.
“My husband was a young man, a Corporal that was killed by Boko Haram terrorists during an attack on the barracks where he worked.
“I now live with his parents, and I bore five kids, three females and two males for him until his demise. The children are aged, 22, 20, 18, 15, and seven years old, and the two eldest, both girls, that are done with High School can’t afford going to the University because I can’t afford their school fee.
“I am pleading that the President, the Minister of Defence, and Nigerian citizens come to our aid. I and my five children are suffering and living in poverty because I can’t afford starting a business, and I have no job.”
It would be recalled that some retired military men in January this year picketed the ministries of finance and defence, as well as the National Assembly to press home their demands.
When contacted, the spokesman of the Minister, Mohammed Abdulkadir, directed our correspondent to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ibrahim Kana.
However, several calls to the mobile phone of Mr Kana were yet to be answered, and he was yet to reply to a text message sent to him as at when filing this report.