About 30 years after Muhammad Muazu Umaru, an octogenarian old soldier retired from the Nigerian Army, denied entitlements including other challenges have subjected him to a series of hardships including a “mental” disorder.
Umar who hails from Wuya Kede in Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger State, according to his grandson, Muhammad Alfa, began his military career in the early 50s in Zaria, Kaduna State. Alfa claimed that his grandfather retired from the service without any benefit.
The denied entitlements further forced him to join a local security guard ‘vigilantes’ operating between Bida and Mokwa local councils. Umaru would resign from the apparatus for farming after being denied his stipend for months.
A DIVE INTO UMAR’S LIFE DURING AND AFTER THE CIVIL WAR
“He was part of the 127 Battalion Okigbe in Anambra State, where he served under his superiors namely, Lt. Col Bitrus of Jos, Lt. Col Abude Wuta from Patigi and Lt. Col. Abbas,” said his grandson.
Alfa (the grandson), said Umaru impacted them with his military morale of dedication, selfless service and sacrifice.
Umaru who retired as a sergeant officer is now in critical condition. “He hardly feeds and the government has refused to give him his retirement benefit,” Alfa told WikkiTimes, quoting his grandfather to have repeatedly said the government should pay him the benefit even if it is little.
“Let anyone in charge of paying retirees pay him,” he pleaded, adding his efforts to get Umaru’s entitlement for him were frustrated by bureaucratic processes.
“I travelled to Lokoja, Kogi and Minna TRADOC Headquarters looking for a way to claim his retirement benefit but I was told I have to bring his employment documents,” Alfa told WikkiTimes. “These documents are nowhere to be found. I need to get records from Lokoja and Lokoja said they must get letters from Superiors.”
“I also went to the pension board in Abuja and they told me they cannot trace his records and as such, there is nothing they can do about it.”
Earlier, Onyenma Nwachukwu, the spokesman for the Nigerian Army was not available for comments. He did not respond to calls. Also, an enquiry sent to him had not responded as of press time.
A few minutes after the story was published, Nwachukwu contacted WikkiTimes, saying he was not in charge of gratuities. However, he promised to link the paper with the military pension board to look into the matter.