GOVERNMENT MUST MEET THEIR DEMANDS NOW!
We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) extend solidarity to the ex-servicemen in the country who have threatened to protest the nonpayment of their pension benefits. According to media reports, the ex-military under the aegis of Retired Army, Navy and Air force Officers’ Club (RANAO) stressed that unless their four years pension arrears of 53percent is paid, its members would protest in major streets in the country including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
According to the ex-servicemen, the Federal Government since July 1, 2010 has approved the review of consolidated armed forces salary structure by 53 percent for both serving and retired servicemen. However, the military authorities have refused to implement that of the retired men, while those in service have started enjoying theirs since the announcement. Besides, according to the ex-military men, there are some of their members who have never even benefitted from the pension structure.
The federal government cannot claim not to be aware of the plight of the ex-servicemen as they went on a protest in Abuja over the same matter on January 15 on the occasion of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day. We therefore call on the Federal Government and military authorities to immediately meet the demand of the military retirees.
We call on the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) as well as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to organise solidarity actions in support of the ex-servicemen including joining to mount pressure on the government and mobilization of workers to participate at the planned protests. Also importantly, NUP, NLC and TUC should seriously spearhead a comprehensive fight-back against the pension robbery. We recall that a nationwide mass protest against robbery and non-payment of pension which had been widely mobilized for two years ago was arbitrarily called off by the national leadership of NUP and NLC.
Ultimately, the attack on pension of ordinary people and ex-servicemen is another proof of inherently anti-poor character of any capitalist government. This is especially further shown by the fact that the top functionaries of the government and top officers of the military are paid jumbo pensions on retirement despite receiving outrageous salaries and allowances and in position to loot public funds while in office or service. Therefore as we fight for living pension and against all anti-poor policies what is also needed is a clear and comprehensive working people's political alternative to the capitalist arrangement, and the SPN represents a step in that direction. We call on workers, pensioners, traders and artisans to join the SPN and build a party to throw out of power the ruling band of pension thieves.