By Okodili Ndidi, Abuja
The Military Pensions Board has said it will soon begin the electronic verification of military pensioners to ascertain those that have died since the last verification was conducted three years ago (2017).
Though no particular date was given for the commencement of the exercise, the Chairman of the Board, Commodore Saburi Lawal, explained that under the proposed electronic verification, pensioners will not go through the ordeal from travelling from their respective locations to participate in the exercise but will only visit any of the eleven designated banks which will be announced later with their BVN and be screened.
He said the Board is awaiting further directives from the Ministry of Defence and the Defence Headquarters before announcing the takeoff date for the verification exercise.
Lawal, who spoke after he was decorated with the 2021 Emblem for the Armed Forces Remembrance Day by the National Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Brigadier General Adakole Jones Akpa (retd.), said it is only through verification that the Board can know the true statistics of pensioners.
He said: “The last time verification was carried out by the Board was in 2017, between then and now, some of the pensioners have passed on and the only way to know is through verification. Now we are planning electronic verification where pensioners will visit any of the designated banks, present their BVN and be screened.
“No date has been fixed for the verification until the Ministry of Defence and the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) give us the go-ahead”.
He further assured that the Board will continue to prioritize the prompt payment of monthly pensions if the government continues to release the funds on time, “money for pensions are released monthly and once we receive the money, we will ensure prompt payment before the end of every month”.
Chairman of the Nigerian Legion (Adakole), lauded the Board for the new innovations introduced in the payment of pensions of retired Military men, adding that the era of collapsing while waiting to be paid is gone for good.
He charged the Board to sustain the feat and ensure that the welfare of the retired Military men remains a priority.
He said: “wWe have observed that Military retirees are paid as at when due, the era when retired military men die or collapse while waiting to be paid is gone. I want to commend the Military Pension Board for doing a great job.”
To further ease the plight of Military Pensioners, Adakole, disclosed that the Nigerian Legion has created a website where pensioners can log in and register any complaint related to their pension issues without having to risk travelling to Abuja.