Initiatives On National Cohesion Welcomed

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We join teeming Nigerians in giving kudos to the present Muhammadu Buhari led administration for doing the needful with the recent approval given for the payment of pension to police officers, who were granted presidential pardon in year 2000 haven served in the defunct Biafran Police during the 30- month civil war.

This paper commends the decision of President Buhari, to pay pension to the pardoned retired Biafra police personnel. Having acted as a statesman, his action would go a long way to heal the wounds inflicted by the long neglect of the officers whose offence was that they belonged to the Biafra side during the civil war.

Also by this act, the present government has made succour come the way of these police officers.

Recall that former president Olusegun Obasanjo granted the pardon to the Biafrans in the early days of his administration, but either by omission or commission, didn’t execute the terms associated with the pardon. The personnel who were granted presidential pardon could not receive their pension.

Despite the Presidential Pardon and verification of these officers, many of them remained unpaid for years after the pardon.  However, the present administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has graciously given approval for the payment of the pension entitlements to these officers and the next of kin of those who had passed on.

A statement released by the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) following the announcement from the presidency, showed a breakdown of the number of pensioners which include 162 officers to be payrolled, while 57 next of kin, who have also not been paid their death benefits, will be paid in the first batch.

As the federal government has decided to pay pension to the pardoned retired Biafra police personnel, it is our view that this action would go a long way to heal the wounds inflicted by the long neglect of the officers whose offence was that they belonged to the Biafra side during the civil war.

Decisions of this nature would go a long way towards promoting peace and unity in the country and could also go a long way towards reducing agitations in the country. The action of the President is good. All these years, no past administrations had taken them into consideration even after they were granted pardon by the former president in 2000.

We expect that this pension payment to the Biafran officers would give all those concerned a sense of belonging. The mere fact that the Presidency decided to pay them is an indication that they want to heal the wounds of the civil war. We also advise that the president pay the pension of ex-Biafran soldiers and compensate Igbo businessmen who were only issued 20 pounds at the end of the civil war.

It is our view that the injustice inflicted on that part of the country during the war should be addressed in the interest of national cohesion and therefore urged the president to act without further delay.

We would also like to call on the government to seize the current momentum on good public opinion to implement the proposed and nationally approved policy of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement which seems to have been ignored under past administrations.

The full terms of that policy should be instantly executed, so as to genuinely give the region a true sense of acceptance to reflect the “no victor, no vanquished” proclamation by the then Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon.

The only reason why regional agitations such as MOSSOB, IPOB etc. appear to be relevant today may be due to successive governments’ dishonesty with the 3Rs policy. So the present administration should be sincere and take this beyond Biafra Police pension’s payments.

What is the impact of police pension payment on the region when compared to infrastructural neglect, constant slaughtering of these people via herdsmen and other religious crisis, marginalization in national appointments etc?

Once again, government initiative to foster cohesion in the country is welcomed, as well as, all other initiatives that foster a sense of justice and common destiny in one united Nigeria.

 

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