Minister of Defence, retired Maj.-Gen Bashir Magashi, says the Federal Government has set up a committee to work out modalities for the establishment of the Nigerian Veterans Foundation.
Addressing newsmen on the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration on Friday in Abuja, Magashi said the foundation would enhance the living standards and well-being of military veterans.
He said that payment of pensions and gratuities to retired military personnel was now prompt and regular after verification by the Military Pensions Board.
The exercise, according to him, is intended to streamline and check leakages in the system.
He added that the board had concluded the documentation of 102 ex-Biafran service personnel who were pardoned by the president.
Magashi pledged that the ministry would continue to engage the pensioners through relevant organs like the Nigerian Legion, the Veteran Affairs Division and the pension board to ensure that government’s obligations to them were met.
He said that the ministry had been working on the amendment of the Nigerian Legion Act to change it to Veterans Federation of Nigeria Act.
According to the minister, the amended Act is expected to further enhance the welfare of veterans in line with international best practices, if signed into law.
He urged the National Assembly to assist in the expeditious passage of the Bill when submitted.
“The Defence Health Maintenance Ltd. has continued to provide health insurance services for veterans, widows and eligible dependants of our fallen heroes.
“The ministry will continue to empower the company for effective discharge of its responsibilities.
“Zonal offices are being established in all the zones of the Federation to increase access to the company’s services.
“The ministry has been conducting skills acquisition training for veterans through the Veteran Affairs Division while it is planning to do same for military widows.
“In addition, effort is on-going to revive the Nigerian Legion Farms.
“To this end, we have initiated collaboration with relevant government agencies in charge of agricultural development to support our veterans farming activities.
“The purchase of tractors and other farm implements is also being considered,’’ Magashi said. (NAN)