Dozens of Nigeria police officers from the South-East and South-South zones of the country who served in Biafra and were formally retired following the Presidential Amnesty granted them on the 29th of May, 2000 have cried out over alleged under payment of their retirement benefits.
The over 1,000 ex- police men, are appealing to President Goodluck Jonathan, to wade into the matter so as to ensure that justice is done with a view to bringing their 14 year’s agitation for the payment of the retirement benefits “to a glorious and early end.”
The ex-service men alleged that the Police Pensions Office, Abuja misinterpreted and misapplied the letters and spirit of the Presidential Amnesty by erroneously predicating the date of their retirement as taking effect from January 15, 1970 contrary to the Amnesty Provision that May 29, 2000 was the approved date of retirement.
The retired policemen, in a press statement signed by National Chairman of the Association of Retired War-Affected Police Officers South-East and South-South States of Nigeria (ARWAPO), Matthew Udeh made available to newsmen in Enugu, decried the development.
They lamented that their members were grossly underpaid gratuities by the Police Pensions Office on account of the wrong interpretation of the Presidential Amnesty.
The retired police officers also alleged that the affected officers that have so far received their entitlements were grossly underpaid monthly pensions while more than half of the 1,000 retired police officers were disqualified from earning their deserved pensions by the Police Pensions Office.
“They have not paid over 50% retired police officers any benefit whatsoever since payments started in 2007,” the statement read”.
The association equally claimed that its delegation had pointed out to the Director-General Pensions Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) “that Military Pensions Authority interpreted the letters and spirit of the amnesty correctly and are paying ex-Biafran soldiers who are similarly covered by the Presidential Amnesty full retirement benefits by deeming each military officer retired on May 29, 2000 as having served for 35 years, by virtue of the amnesty.”
They, however, appealed to the PTDA DG to correctly interpret and apply the letters and the spirit of the amnesty as the military authorities had done and recomputed and pay to the retired war-affected police officers or the next-of-kin of dead officers, accumulated arrears of balances of their full retirement benefits (gratuities and pensions).
They also urged the PTAD to as a matter of urgency “compute and pay full retirement benefits to officers or their next-of-kin who have not been paid even a kobo since payments started in 2007.”