Military pension fund: Probe alleged diversion of N2.5bn, FG urged

A group, Opinion Pole Assembly (OPA) has called on the federal government to investigate the alleged looting of N2.5 Billion Military Pension Fund, recover the missing fund and sanction the culprits appropriately. 

In a statement issued Wednesday in Abuja by the Publicity Secretary, Bashir Mohammad, the group specifically demanded that the Chairman of the Military Pension Board, Commodore Saburi Abayomi Lawal must account for the fund kept in his custody.

The group said in spite of the meritorious achievement of the Nigeria military, “It is, therefore, disappointing and most tragic, when some high-ranking officers of this national institution are been accused of alleged fraud and breach of trust in an orchestrated loot of the very important military pension fund.”

Citing an exclusive report published by Pointblank News on March 16, 2021, wherein a whopping sum of N2.5 Billion received from CBN were allegedly diverted from Military Pension Fund in one day by some top officers. 

The reports according to the online publication accused top officers of the Military Pension Board and the immediate past Service Chiefs as directly involved in the fraud.

Though, the Public Relations Officer of Military Pension Board, Flt. Lt. O. Lawal, has since refuted the fraud allegation while insisting that no fund is missing and no amount of money was illegally transferred from MPB account at the CBN to anyone within or outside Nigeria, apart from qualified military retirees or their NOKs however, Opinion Pole Assembly insists that a thorough investigation needed to be carried out to unearth any corruption, if any, and ensure that the galant military officers are not shortchanged. 

“Yet, despite this official denial from Military Pension Board, Nigerians will need to know why Commodore Lawal is still freely going about his business without the Sword of Damocles hanging over his head like some others. Is he untouchable, and why should that be?

“It is our view that, such allegation involving this calibre of military personnel, and such a huge sum meant to cushion the current harsh economic conditions of our ex- service men and women, must be treated without vested interest, or bias, no matter the powers involved.

“We also believe Commodore Lawal who was, particularly, named and accused of ‘conniving’ with others, being the chief executive of the pension board must promptly explain his alleged involvement, and must also be clearly seen to be completely absolved of this allegation.  

“The public must know the truth, especially, considering the poor and distasteful living conditions of tens of thousands of our aging ex- service officers many of who, in January 2020 stormed  the Federal Ministry of Finance, Abuja to protest non- payment of their 20 months pension arrears.

“Again, the reputation of the military is at stake here. It’s not as easy to sweep under the carpet such a fact- laden report already in public domain from identifiable source(s) with no visible effort to clear the mess other than a mere press release from the board.

“If the public has been misinformed by such reports, have the board and those officers taken the course of the law to seek redress for character defamation?

“Why and who pulled down the report from the Point-blank News website overnight”, said the group. 

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