Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Ministry of Defense, has commenced the capturing of veterans, windows and orphans of fallen heroes for monthly cash transfers of N25,000 to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal.
According to the National Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Maj Gen Abdulmalik Jubril (retd.), who was in Umuahia weekend during the flag off of the exercise, the gesture will help mitigate the economic hardship associated with the fuel subsidy removal.
He explained that the cash transfer would last for three months, and urged veterans to take advantage of the offer to get enrolled.
Gen. Jubril commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the gesture, saying it was the first time veterans would be remembered in social safety net.
He noted that veterans and families of fallen heroes deserve assistance considering their sacrifices for the country.
Flagging off the exercise at Aguiyi Ironsi Conference Centre, Umuahia, Minister of Defense, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, said that the Federal Government was passionate about the welfare of veterans and families of fallen heroes.
The Defense Minister who was represented by the Director in Joint Services, Ministry of Defence, Dr Jude Alozie, assured that government economic programmes would be open to all veterans, families of fallen heroes and their dependants.
“This is the first time there’s been a deliberate attempt to capture veterans and we know that it will only get better. We are trying to create a national safety register for veterans and with this enrolment, you’ll be entitled to all programmes of the Federal Government”.
In a remark, the Chief of Defense Staff, Major General Christopher Musa, represented by Brigadier General Caius Baushe, urged the veterans to take the enrollment seriously and ensure they are captured so as to benefit from the packages.
In a remark, the Abia State Chairman of Nigerian Legion, Commander Ambrose Nnabugwu (retd. ), said the programme was aimed at assuaging the hardship and suffering caused by the removal of fuel subsidy in the country.
He commended President Tinubu for extending the fuel subsidy palliative to members of the Nigeria Legion and family members of fallen heroes.
Nnabugwu also commended the Federal Government for launching the programme in Abia, and urged veterans in the state to ensure they were property captured.
In an interview, one of the veterans, Staff Sergeant Kalu Ndem (retd.), thanked the Federal Government for the palliative but said it would not make much impacts in view of the biting economic hardship in Nigeria.
He said that the weakness of the Naira had rendered cash transfers by Government to Nigerians almost useless as it would make little or no difference.
According to him the rate of inflation in the country should bother Government, and conscious efforts towards controlling it should be made without delays.
He suggested that the Federal Government should rather focus on how to revive the economy and create jobs for the children of the fallen heroes and other Nigerians instead of occasional cash transfers.
“Focus on reviving the economy. Nigeria can’t be living on borrowing. This is a ritual and every administration comes up with its own programme. But the best will be to fix the economy and make it work for everybody.
“Revamp the moribund companies, create job for the youths, give jobs to families of fallen heroes. Teach their children how to fish and not to be giving them fish.”