From: Uche Usim, Abuja

Seventeen years after they were granted presidential pardon, the Pensions Transition Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), on Wednesday, disclosed of plans to commence the payment of pension benefits to soldiers, paramilitary officers and policemen affected by the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970).

Spokesman of PTAD, Ema Okondo, who disclosed this in Abuja said: “Those to be paid are members of the Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police and the paramilitary officers who took part with the secessionists and were dismissed from the service.

“However, the dismissal of those officers was commuted to retirement in year 2000 through a Presidential Amnesty granted on May 29, 2000 by the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

“The general public would recall that Nigeria witnessed an ugly civil war between July, 1967 and January, 1970”, Okondo stated.

The PTAD spokesman added that a verification exercise was conducted for the pardoned officers by the defunct Police Pension Office and recently, PTAD and the Police Service Commission (PSC) carried out a fresh biometric census of them.

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Okondo continued: “Despite the Presidential pardon and verification of these officers many of them remained unpaid years after the pardon.

“However, the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has graciously given approval for the payment of pension entitlements to these officers and their Next of Kin.

“PTAD is commencing the payment of pension benefits to the retired war affected police officers on Friday, October 20, 2017 in Enugu.

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