Buhari approves the payment of pensions to Biafran policemen as part of olive branch to Ndigbo

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate payment of pension entitlements to the retired Biafran police officers who served in the defunct republic and  their next of kins as part a national reconciliation programme.


Over the last two years, demands have been growing for the recreation of the Republic of Biafra which existed briefly between July 1967 and January 1970. Fuelled by perceptions of President Buhari's marginalisation of Igbos and abandonment of the southeast, these demands have grown into fullscale agitation and have made Nigeria very restive of late.


Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) has led the campaign for Igbos to secede from Nigeria and last month, its leader, Nnamdi Kanu's home was attacked by soldiers. It is still uncertain where Mr Kanu is amid claims that the military killed him, while others speculate that he has fled abroad.


It now appears that President Buhari has heeded wise counsel and acted to douse the tension by offering olive branches to the southeast. Yesterday, the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) indicated that despite the presidential pardon and verification of these officers, many of them remained unpaid years after the pardon.


After the Nigerian civil war, some members of the armed forces, the Nigeria Police Force and paramilitary officers who took part in the secession were dismissed from service. The dismissal of those officers was commuted to retirement through a presidential amnesty granted on  May 29, 2000 by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.


A PTAD spokesman said: “A verification exercise was conducted for the pardoned officers by the defunct Police Pension Office and recently PTAD on one hand and the Police Service Commission on the other. Despite the presidential pardon and verification of these officers many of them remained unpaid years after the pardon.


“However, the present administration under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, has graciously given approval for the payment of pension entitlements to these officers and their next of kin. PTAD is thus commencing the payment of pension benefits to the retired war affected police officers on Friday 20th October, 2017 in Enugu."


He added that 162 officers will be payrolled and 57 next of kins who have also not been paid their death benefits will be paid in the first batch.