The Military Pensions Board was established in 1975 as the Directorate of Military Pensions (DPM). Hitherto, the payment of pensions and other benefits to the Military retirees was handled by the Federal Ministry of Establishment up to 1974. As at then, it was named Military Pensions Assessments Board (MPAB), due to massive retirement after civil war. The name, Military Pensions Board (MPB) took effect in 2003 after major restructuring which necessitated the droping of the name, DPM.

The MPB is saddled with dual cardinal mandate of payment of gratuity and pension to retirees of the Nigerian Armed Forces and also to provide financial advice and payment of the death benefits to Next-of-Kin of deceased personnel. The Board is technically under the office of the Honourable Minister of Defence and administratively under the office of the Chief of Defence Staff. An illustration of the Chairman, MPB dual obligation to both the Honourable Minister of Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff is provided in an ensuing diagram.

Military pensioners on Wednesday stormed the National Assembly to protest against the non-payment of their 53 per cent pension arrears.

The pensioners, under the aegis of Ex-Service Men Welfare Association, blocked the main entrance of the Assembly complex to press home their demands.

Many of them carried placards with inscriptions: ‘For how long shall we wait?’, ‘We are dying of hunger’, ‘Mr. President, help us’ among others.

The association’s spokesman, Capt. Charlie Roberts (retd.), said they embarked on the protest as a last resort since the Federal Government did not appear perturbed by their plight.

He said, “The issue is about the refusal of the Federal Government to pay military pensioners the increment that was made since July 2010.

“The increment made in our pension has not been paid till today. The law stipulates that each time there is an increase in salaries it should include pensioners accordingly.

“And in this case, there was an increment with effect from July 2010 but up till today we have not been paid.

“The nation has been misinformed about these issues. Our members both officers and other ranks made presentations to the government; government made promises but up till today, they have been promising that they will pay.

“Everybody, who is here, has his or her particulars well documented. We have our identity cards. We are over 100,000 and the authorities know that we are suffering.”

In a letter addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan and copied to the Senate President, David Mark, the protesting pensioners appealed to the authorities to revisit their plight and order the payment of their outstanding arrears.

The letter read, “We want President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President and the Speaker House of Representatives to solve our problems. We demand the payment of 53 per cent pension arrears from July 2010 to date

“We also demand the implementation of the increase of monthly pension by the military pension board.

“All retirees who were discharged from 30 June, 2003 to 31 December, 2006, officers, soldiers and those who died within that period were short paid their gratuity and pension.

“We have documents to prove our case. We want our rightful gratuity and pension.”