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#Let the Veterans Breathe: Retired Soldiers Decry Unpaid Security Debarment Allowance

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File photo of the decoration of a military veteran

Retired Members of the Nigerian Armed Forces (REMENAF) and the Coalition of Concerned Veterans (CCV) are threatening a protest to compel the federal government to fully pay their Security Debarment Allowance (SDA).

The allowance is meant to deter retired servicemen from using their military skills against the state.

The planned protest is coming less than 24 hours after President Bola Tinubu approved N18 billion on Wednesday as Group Life Assurance benefits and other entitlements for families of fallen servicemen and women of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

In a statement to Nigeria Info on Wednesday night, the veterans’ spokesperson, Abiodun Durowaiye-Herberts, announced lifting the ban on peaceful protest suspended in late 2022.

Their key demands include a new SDA payment template, pension adjustments, and outstanding wage arrears from the Buhari administration.

Durowaiye alleged that some government officials were obstructing their demands despite former President Muhammadu Buhari approving a N134.7 billion budget for the SDA.

“It would appear some interests within are constituting themselves as clogs in the wheel of progress and by so doing, they have given the ministers many reasons why we are not relevant and not to be listened to,” he said.

Durowaiye also criticized the controversial multi-billion naira purchase of SUVs for federal lawmakers.

“Isn't it disgusting that a newly elected member of the Nigerian parliament is being given an SUV worth over a hundred million as a welcome gift, as against a military veteran who served 35 years and still begging to be paid his SDA?” he asked.

“Then, someone, somewhere will want to convince us that there's no money and the economy is bad! Why is it always bad when it comes to our turn? We can't continue like this.”

He urged other veterans to stay alert for a new protest date under the hashtag #Let the Veterans Breathe.


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