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Lagos Blast: Death Toll Rises As Rescuers Recover Seven More Bodies

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Seven more dead bodies have been recovered from the rubble of Sunday morning gas facility explosion which occurred at Abule-Ado, in Amuwo-Odofin area of Lagos.
This brings the number of death recorded so far to 23.
Most of the injured persons were admitted at the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital, Navy Town, Ojo.
While two of the bodies were recovered at the wee hours of yesterday by search parties, the other three were recovered around 10am.
It was learnt that one of the victims, a lady, was still alive as at the time she was brought out from the debris.
This is even as parents and relations kept trooping to the scene to look for their children and loved ones.
The Public Relations Officer of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) of the South-West Region, Ibrahim Farinloye, said three bodies were recovered, while a child was rescued alive.
Relative of one of the missing persons, Michael Abiye said he was still looking for his cousin who stays with him.
According to Abiye, “My cousin came two months ago; he told me he worships in one of the Pentecostal churches in the area. But I don’t know the particular church.
“But since the incident occurred, I have not seen him and his phone is switched off. I have gone to all the hospitals, including naval hospital, Ojo, but I couldn’t find him.
“I learnt that five more bodies were recovered today. But there is no information on where they took the bodies to.”
As at press time, the area has been cordoned off by police operatives and emergency workers.
A police officer said that the area was cordoned off to prevent street urchins from cashing in on the opportunity provided to loot victims’ properties.
But even with the measure, street urchins still defied police presence to steal electric sets under the pretence of helping victims to move their household equipment to safe ground.
Some people were also seen parking out en-mass from the area for fear of the likelihood of another explosion.
John Okon said that he was parking out of the area because he never knew they were sitting on a keg of gunpowder.
“As a trader at Trade Fair Complex, I moved into the area five years ago because of its proximity to my business place. However, I started entertaining fear when news of how vandals were destroying pipelines to scoop for fuel. At times, the air would be filled with tick odour of petrol from spillage.
“I am happy that I am moving out of the area with my family intact. Some people have w still looking for their children,” he said.
A woman, Kemi Kolaosho, said she rushed to the area when she heard of the explosion in search for her daughter.
She said she could not get any information regarding the whereabouts of the students, but was later told that they were moved to one of the Catholic churches in either Navy Town or Satellite Town.
She said: “We were told that the management of the school would address parents later today. But up till now, we are yet to hear from them.
“Around 10 am, someone came to tell us that the students have been relocated from the area owing to the damage done to the school building,” she added.
She said that she heard that about 40 students of Bethlehem Girl’s High School, Ojo were rushed to Navy Hospital, Ojo.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said that a combined team of mobile and regular policemen have been deployed to provide adequate security
The Command Information Officer, Western Naval Command, Navy Commander Thomas Otuji, said that a total of 55 persons were rushed to the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital, Ojo, by rescuers led by the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command.
He said that the hospital also received and attended to casualties from the explosion site.
He said that 55 persons were attended to by a medical team of the hospital.
“Those brought to the hospital are made up of 36 school children and 19 adults. One of the adults had about 35 per cent mixed degree burns with inhalation injuries and pulmonary oedema. He has been admitted into the Intensive Care Unit and connected to a ventilator.
“Seven other adults and two children are on admission in the wards. Two adults had Traumatic Brain Injury and were referred to LUTH for neurosurgical intervention. The remaining 43 have been treated and discharged. Three people were brought in dead, two females and a male.”
In its reaction, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos Archdiocese, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, yesterday, on behalf of the proprietors of the Bethlehem Girls College, Abule Ado, confirmed the death of the school’s Administrator, Rev. Sister Henrietta Alokha in Sunday’s devastating explosion in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State.
Lamenting the massive explosion which rocked Abule Ado area while the Bethlehem Girls College (owned by the Catholic Church) community were in church, with about 17 persons reportedly died and over 70 houses in the vicinity destroyed, the Archbishop said apart from the administrator, an unnamed female security guard died in the process of taking care that the students were safe.
The statement personally signed by Adewale Martins reads: “Yesterday, Sunday, 15th March, 2020, there was a massive explosion at the Abule Ado area of Lagos which led to the collapse of many structures in the affected areas.
“We do not have an official duly investigated explanation for the explosion yet. All we know is that a truck accident was involved; the pipeline going through the community was involved as well as a stack of gas cylinders. All these together by some series of cause and effect are said to be the cause of the devastating explosion which very badly affected our Bethlehem Girls College, Abule Ado as well as many other buildings in the vicinity.
“This sad incident occurred while the students and staff were at Sunday Mass. With the help of the first respondents, all the students were rescued and some that were injured were rushed to the hospitals. The other students have been released to their parents and gone to their different homes. We want to state that all students in the school were reported safe.
“Those who sustained injuries were promptly attended to in various hospitals within the environ. We are getting our Education Department along with the administrators of other Archdiocesan schools to see how the students of Bethlehem Girls College can be accommodated in the other schools so that their education is not disrupted.
“Unfortunately, the Administrator of the school, Dr. Henrietta Alokha and one female security guard died in the process of taking care that the students were safe. Henrietta Alokha and other staff that died have paid the supreme price in their bid to lead all her students to safety. May their souls rest in peace.
“It is important to confirm that no priest died during the incident. The priest who was celebrating the Mass helped in rescuing the students and he himself is safe,” the archbishop stated.
Unfortunately, Martins said the institution’s Staff Quarters, Administrative Building, the refectory and hostel buildings were levelled to the ground as a result of the impact of the explosion with no essential building standing except the convent housing the nuns in charge of the school.
He, however, commended the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) Nigeria Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Red Cross, various security agencies for their prompt response which ensured that the situation did not get worse.
“We are grateful to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his call to express the sympathy of the Lagos State Government and for setting up a committee to investigate issues surrounding the explosion.
“We wish to commiserate with the families of all those who died in this sad incident. We pray for the repose of the souls of the departed and the quick healing of those who were injured.
“We pray the Lord to provide for the needs of all those who lost their properties, in the said event. Our prayer at this period is that the Good Lord will grant eternal rest to the faithful departed and strengthen all of us with the fortitude to bear the effect of this disaster,” the archbishop prayed.
Also speaking earlier, the school management of Bethlehem International Catholic School, Abule Ado has revealed that none of the students died in the explosion that claimed several lives on Sunday morning.
Speaking at the scene, yesterday morning, the Director for Education for Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos State, Monsignor Jerome Oduntan, said that there is no student that died during the explosion.
Oduntan noted that, “we have a population of 268 students, because of the stampede 50 of them sustained injuries, we took them to the hospital and they were treated and discharged and all the students are at home with their parents. But we still have two students that are undergoing treatment at the Naval Hospital and one at LASUTH.
“Three students are undergoing treatment at the moment. Not even a single student died. And no student is missing.
“However, I am still gathering information on the number of staffs that are yet to be accounted so I won’t be able to tell you how many we are looking for”.
“We have about 80 staff, including teaching and non-teaching staffs. I can only confirm two staffs that died, yesterday, the administrator, who is the principal, and a female security officer. Those are the ones I can confirm for now”.
Also, the school sectional head of the senior secondary school, Omonuwa Benjamin said, “at the moment we are looking for four staff who are still missing. We lost two staff who are in the mortuary; because it was on Sunday, we had domestic staff who were on duty”.
However, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, announced the setting up of N2billion relief fund for victims of Sunday’s explosion at Abule Ado area of Lagos State.
Massive explosion rocked Abule Ado area on Sunday, with 17 people reportedly dead and over 70 houses destroyed.
Sanwo-Olu, who visited the scene of the tragedy, yesterday morning, said the state government would be committing N250million to the fund immediately, while corporate organisations and spirited individuals were expected to support with donations for the victims of the explosion.
He appealed to well meaning Nigerians and organisations to contribute to the fund.
“I have set up Abule Ado Emergency Relief Fund; it is a N2billion relief fund and the state government will immediately put in N250million to that fund and overnight, I have gotten three banks to open account for that fund and what that are we trying to achieve?
“This is beyond what the state government can achieve on its own. This is beyond what a government, nation or state level can undertake on its own, I am aware that some of my fellow governors have called, and have also received phone calls from the private sector, so what this fund will do is to give everybody the opportunity to be part of it and to be able to donate into it.
“Of course, the utilisation of this fund, which will also be headed by the deputy governor will also be part of the responsibility the committee will be saddled with. Just to know we are serious and are committed to it. I have three account numbers already: I have the Polaris Bank, with the account number-4030017510 account name is Abule Ado Emergency Relief Fund,” he said.
“Other account numbers are: Zenith Bank, with account number-10171845716 and GTB, with account number-0568615688”.
Sanwo-Olu also inaugurated a fact-finding committee to investigate the cause of the incident, saying that the committee was expected to submit its report in two weeks time.
He governor told the residents that his administration was working with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the National Emergency Management Agency {NEMA] to make life easier for the victims.
According to him, “we are working with NEMA, NNPC and other agencies to make life easier to everyone affected in the tragic incident at Abule Ado, which claimed lives and caused extensive property damage. I offer my condolences to everyone affected.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said, yesterday, that the residual fire of a gas explosion in Lagos on Sunday evoked another pipeline fire in the Abule-Ado area in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State.
No fewer than 23 persons have been confirmed dead and 60 others injured with more than 70 buildings impacted while several vehicles parked in the area were destroyed in the first explosion on Sunday.
The NNPC Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, said the pipeline fire reignited at 05:10 am, yesterday.
Kyari, however, said a combined team from the NNPC, the Lagos State Government as well as other first responders have effectively controlled the fire.
He added that steps have been taken to prevent a reignition.
Reacting to the incident, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has called for a rejig of the nation’s emergency response in a manner that will educate Nigerians on how to prevent disasters.
The party said the overhaul of the emergency management must be geared towards strengthening response to disasters by the relevant agencies of government and volunteer groups.
In a statement, yesterday by the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party insisted that drastic measures must be adopted to check recurring disasters in the country.
The PDP expressed shock and grief at Sunday’s devastating explosion in Abule-Ado, Lagos State in which no fewer than 23 persons died and many others were injured.
Also, property worth billions of Naira got destroyed as many were rendered homeless in a gas explosion fire that ravaged the community.
The statement said, “The PDP is particularly worried about the spate of explosions and other avoidable disasters, particularly in Lagos and other strategic states, which raises grave public safety concerns in our nation’s commercial nerve centres.
“The party recalls that only in January, a pipeline explosion rocked Abule-Egba in Lagos State in which compatriots were killed in an inferno that razed valuables and brought anguish to many families.
“Explosion has again brought sorrow, anguish and pain to families who are now suffering bereavement, injuries, and homelessness, loss of property and means of livelihood.
“The PDP is grieved by the traumatising effect of the explosion on a school, which killed the school principal, Revd Sister Henrietta Alokha, and injured many of the students.
“Our party notes the heroic service rendered by Revd Sister Alokha in saving no fewer than 300 students and losing her own life at the end.
“The PDP, therefore, urges the Federal Government to confer a worthy posthumous recognition in honour of Revd Sister Alokha.
“The PDP deeply commiserates with the victims of the explosion and urged relevant authorities as well as public spirited individuals, groups and establishments to come to their aid.
“Our party calls on all Nigerians to remain vigilant and continue to pray for divine intervention on our nation at this trying time.”
Also reacting, the Trade Union Congress (TUC), yesterday urged the Lagos State government to carry out a thorough investigation into the explosion that rocked Abule-Ado in Amuwo Odofin local government area of the state on Sunday.
The TUC President and Secretary-General, Messrs Quadri Olaleye and Musa-Lawal Ozigi, made the appeal in a joint statement issued in Lagos.
The union urged Governor Babatunde Sanwo-Olu to do everything possible to forestall any future occurrence similar to the recent Lagos explosion.
It expressed concern that pipelines and gas plant explosions were becoming too frequent in the state.
According to the statement, over 85 percent of such accidents are preventable, if safety standards are observed.
“At every opportunity, including this one, people take advantage of the system.
“The contractors and materials that will be used for the repairs of the pipelines that are affected by the Lagos explosion have to be closely monitored to ensure that substandard materials are not used; it is also a contributory factor,” the union leaders said.
TUC described the attempt to rescue the pupils of Bethlehem Girls College by the Principal, Henrietta Alokha, who died in the Lagos explosion as a huge sacrifice.
It said: “It is possible she could have escaped but she thought of the children in her care and decided to assist.
“Our leaders at all levels must emulate the feat of the deceased; leadership is a call to service and not for personal aggrandizement.”
Also, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), asked the Federal Government to carry out forensic investigation of the immediate and remote cause of the Abule Ado explosion on March 15, 2020, which killed scores and led to devastation of epic proportions.
The group in a statement in Lagos, also called on the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu to immediately set up a special task force on pipelines security with the purpose of preventing ceaseless pipeline accidents in the state.
The Sunday morning blast occurred near the popular ASPAMDA market and mechanic village in Abule Ado, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area, Lagos.
Vibrations from the blast shook many parts of the state and were felt as far as Iba, Okokomaiko, Agege, Alimosho and Surulere, among others.
The Lagos government had earlier stated the incident was not in any way linked to pipeline vandalism but could not provide details on the cause of the incident but the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), insisted it was caused by a truck that hit some cylinders stacked in a gas processing plant located near the corporations’ system 2B Pipeline right of way.
Among the casualties of the explosion were a Reverend Sister Henrietta Alokha, who is also the Principal of Bethlehem High School, Abule Ado, and some students of the school she was trying to rescue.
A family of four that were on their way to church also died, as well as a newly-wed couple who were said to be expecting a child.
Many are still unaccounted for and suspected to be under rubble in collapsed houses at the time of preparing this statement.
ERA/FoEN, however, cautioned the Federal Government not to be too casual to conclude that that the incident was an accident, noting that the accounts of the NNPC on the real cause of the blast is unconvincing and raises some questions.
ERA/FoEN Deputy Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “There is something suspiciously different about this explosion. The scale of destruction is nothing like any of the pipeline explosions we have monitored and documented for several decades.
“The Sunday incident’s scale of destruction could only be likened to military grade explosions or aerial bombardment. We can’t treat this casually as an accident caused by a truck.
“With the current security challenges facing this country, it is extremely premature to draw conclusions without conducting forensic investigation on this particular blast. Not even the accidental detonation of bombs at the Ikeja Cantonment caused this scale of destruction and ruins. Government must conduct comprehensive investigation to establish if this was a crime or an accident.
“And there are questions begging for answers: Who drove the truck? What is the truck doing on a pipeline on Sunday morning? Was the gas plant opened on a Sunday? Was the content of the truck weaponized?
“And for the NNPC that has admitted some level of culpability by confirming that the primary explosion came from its gas truck, it should immediately initiate the process of providing remediation for the affected families and businesses while its officials found to have through negligence orchestrated this massive destruction should be made to face the law.”
ERA/FoEN commiserated with the families of the dead and those that lost properties and businesses.
The group, however, urged Governor Sanwo-Olu to immediately set up a task force on pipeline security.
“It is unfortunate that the federal agencies saddled with the protection and security of pipelines has failed woefully. The governor as the chief security officer of the state needs to act in a way that will put an end to these perennial deaths and destruction, since Lagos sits on a web of oil and gas pipelines,” ERA/FoEN quipped.

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Buhari Now Free To Come Kano, Says Ganduje

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In what appears to be a u-turn barely 24 hours after advising President Muhammadu Buhari against going ahead with his scheduled Monday visit to Kano State, the Governor of Kano State, Umar Ganduje, has said that the state is now prepared to receive him.
The governor led a delegation of critical stakeholders from the state to meet President Buhari in his country home in Daura, Katsina State on Sunday after which he revealed the change of position to correspondents.
According to him, “We are very much ready to receive him and we have a lot for him to commission including federal government projects and state government projects. They are state-of-the-art projects.”
He disclosed the preparation of the state to host the President when asked whether the state was prepared to host Buhari on Monday.
Recall that Ganduje had in an interactive session with critical stakeholders including scholars, legislators, political leaders and the business community in the state, revealed that the his government had requested the President to postpone the trip, saying that the state was deeply concerned about the hardship principally induced by the ongoing cash swap from old to redesigned notes.
He said the decision was taken to avoid any unforeseen circumstance.
Consequently, the state government wrote a letter to the president outlining the reasons why the planned visit is no longer auspicious at this time.
According to a press statement issued on Saturday by Abba Anwar, the chief press secretary to the governor, the decision to advised the president against the visit was endorsed by the critical stakeholders of the state.
The statement by the governor’s spokesman reads in parts: “Deeply concerned with the hardship caused by limited time given for halting use of old Naira notes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and for security reasons, the Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, reveals that the state resolved and wrote to Presidency that, the visit of the President to commission some projects be postponed.
“As we are waiting for this important visit, we found ourselves in this situation, which puts citizens into untold hardship. For security purpose we wrote to Presidency that President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Kano be postponed.
“We got an acknowledgement copy of the letter. People are really suffering because of this policy.
“There are no banks in most of our rural communities. How these people get new Naira notes is of great concern. Just look at what is happening in our urban areas, people go and spend hours upon hours in banks. And without any assurances of getting the new notes.”
Despite Ganduje’s objection, President Buhari had, however, insisted on going ahead with the Monday visit.
Presidency sources had disclosed that he would go there to commission some projects implemented by the federal government.
But during Sunday’s visit to the President, Ganduje affirmed that he led the delegation to Daura over the issue of the ongoing currency swap and was happy with him.
He said: “Seeing is believing. You can see that I have led a powerful delegation from Kano State on the issue of new naira notes and we have seen Mr. President. We have laid the complaints of the Kano people and we are very happy.
“He explained to us and also he assured us that the time is extended and the quantity of new naira (notes) will increase so that the suffering of the people will be reduced.
“We informed him that Kano is the most populous state in the federation and also the commercial nerve center of the northern part of Nigeria, second to Lagos.
“But in terms of cash transaction, Kano is much higher than Lagos because Lagos has gone far in terms of cashless society, cashless transaction. But Kano State being comparatively a rural state, so to say, still we have 24 local governments without banks. Most of the banks are concentrated within Kano metropolitan.
“So, you can imagine the suffering of the rural areas, rural people in terms of cash transaction. But we are happy that the time has been extended and also the quantum of the naira notes will be increased.
“So, we are so grateful to the President for effort.”

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Electricity Consumers Decry Increase In Tariff, Say Hike Unjustifiable

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Electricity consumers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have decried the increase in tariff by the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCOs).
ccording to them, the increase is unjustifiable.
The consumers who spoke to our correspondent in Abuja, yesterday, said that DisCos had increased tariff payable for power across the country without notification.
According to them, the increase in electricity tariff is unjustified, given the unreliable, and epileptic power supply across the country.
“Millions of Nigerians continue to live in darkness in spite of the huge amount of money so far invested by governments as well as bailouts to electricity companies,’’ they said.
The consumers said that it annoying that the increase in tariff was not announced, adding that you only discover that there was an increase when you recharge your meter.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in its Multi-Year Tariff Order, provides a 15-year tariff plan for the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry with limited minor reviews each year.
It states that the reviews are in the light of changes in a limited number of parameters such as inflation, interest rates, exchange rates and generation capacity, and major reviews every five years when all of the inputs were reviewed with the stakeholders.
There had been public outcry that the privitasation of the power sector had not yielded positive result and called for a mid-term review of the process or total reversal.
“It is either the Federal Government do a mid-term review of the privatisation process or total reversal of the privatisation. We did not get it right and you cannot give something on anything.
Our correspondent also recalls that the power sector was privatised in November 2013, with six power generation plants and 11 electricity distribution companies handed over to the private sector.
The Federal Government, however, retained control of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
The sector was unbundled and partially privatised to establish a competitive market intended to improve management and efficiency, attract private investment, increase generation, and provide a reliable and cost-efficient power supply.
Speaking on the increase, Mr Kunle Olubiyo, the President, Nigeria Consumer Protection Network said that electricity tariff was increased without giving Nigerians the opportunity to make inputs.
Olubiyo said that over the years, Nigerians and end users customers were being made to pay for systemic over bloated costs at the detriment of the citizenry and economy at large.
According to him, the impact of the recent crises in the energy market supply value chain and the recent increase in electricity tariff are quite enormous.
“In order not be left behind, the Nigerian Government should as a matter of urgency address the energy market supply gaps, “ he said.
A resident of Kubwa, Mrs Ese Williams described the increase as unjustifiable, saying there was no improvement in power supply, so why the increase.
Williams said inspite of the increase in electricity tariff over the years, Nigerians had continued to live in darkness, in my area, you cannot even boast of having light for seven hours in a day.
“Its just so frustrating, I call on the Federal Government to revisit the privatisation of the sector, because it is not working as things are deteriorating, “ she said.
Also reacting to the price hike, a resident of Lugbe, Mr Kola Jimoh, a mechanic said that he was shocked when he recharged his meter with N3,000, and got only 44 units instead of 50 units he usually gets when he recharges for the same amount.
“I was so shocked when I recharged my electricity meter with N3,000 only to discover I got just 44 units and before when I recharge N2.500 I get about 50 units.
“I don’t understand how electricity tariff will be increased without notifying consumers,” he said.
Mrs Ebuwa Ojo, a Banker, and resident in ACO, Estate along Airport Road, stressed the need for the regulatory bodies to check the DisCos. How can they continue increasing tariff every time .
“ I am not happy about the increase, it is becoming too frequent and not that the money, or light is there.”
Another consumer, a banker resident in Area 3, Mrs Titilayo Olowu said, “they increased electricity tariff without informing us.
“There is no official communication to us on the increase, this is not good enough. We have a right to know what is happening,” he said.
Miss Sandra Offor, a Public Servant resident in Garki, Abuja said that she was not happy the way her meter was running,
She said that she spends about N16, 000 a week to recharge her prepaid meter.
“I don’t even understand what is happening to my prepaid meter it is either the meter is bad or there is a problem.

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Debarment Allowance: Irabor Urges Military Retirees For Patience

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The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, has urged retired military officers to show understanding with the Federal Government in the effort to pay them the Security Debarment Allowance (SDA).
Irabor made the call at the 42nd Anniversary Dinner of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) 28 Regular Course Welfare Association on Saturday in Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2017 approved the payment to the military retirees who retired before Nov. 9, 2017.
The deceased military retirees who were alive when the Manual of Financial Administration (MAFA) 2017 was signed, and non-pensionable retirees who retired before Nov. 9, 2017 but were only paid gratuities, are also to benefit.
The SDA, according to Military Pensions Board, was calculated as a function of 10 per cent of the retirees’ annual basic salary as at the time of retirement, multiplied by the number of years served in the services.
The CDS cautioned those who had made unpalatable comments about the SDA to desist from misleading the junior ones, adding that the efforts of the government in that regard should be commended.
According to him, “there are a few toxic commentaries that have been made, which I believe are misrepresented and I think that those of us that are here hearing from me and those who actually know the right thing.
“While appreciating you for changing the orientation of those who have been passing those toxic comments, I need to also encourage that perhaps, they need to go to their creator for forgiveness.
“The reason I say this is, the policy that brought SDA into being was signed on Nov. 9, 2017 and the provisions made therein, caters for those who retired from that day onwards.
“There are issues around policies generally which certainly might not be the best but there will always be room for correction.
“It took the magnanimity of the Commander in Chief, of course a representation that was made to him by the minister, and he was magnanimous enough to look at it again and made the approval that everyone who once served the military should be catered for.
“I think that it is something that I believe is legendary and must be commended rather than having to vilify those who are making effort to ensure that entitlements as enunciated by virtue of that approval is made,” he said.
Irabor further said that the resources disposition of the government should be considered, taking into cognisance the issues of military operations and issues surrounding its Table of Organisation and Equipment (TOE).
“It takes resources to be able to bring our TOE to a reasonable level, to be able to increase the military’s fighting capacity,” he said.
He added that greater attention must be paid to ensure that the tools needed to be able to perform optimally should be given attention.
“And so it was not an easy thing to now muster a total of N132 billion just to pay at once because there are other commitments of government.
“And so approval was given for it to be handled within the period of three to five years, which recently has also been modified for it to be covered in three years.
“So if some of us that should know now go to incite a few others to now to want to take up some kinds of demonstration, that perhaps needs some form of reconsideration
“The first tranche was made early this month, which of course we must continuously appreciate it and of course, the government for this feat.
“So I will like to use this medium to appeal to us, especially on that matter, for it to be put to rest, believing and trusting those who are implementing to faithfully implement it,” he added.
Irabor also commended the retired officers for their invaluable contribution to the peace and stability of the country and urged them to continue to offer their quota even in retirement.
The President, 28 Regular Course Welfare Association, retired Rear Adm. Ndidi Agholor, thanked God for making it possible for them to remain in good health and be able to reunite to celebrate.
Agholor said the association was at its consolidation stage, having made impact in the society, adding that welfare of its members was its main focus at present.
On the debarment allowance, Agholor commended the Federal Government and the Ministry of Defence for being magnanimous in expanding the scope of SDA to cover all retired military personnel.
He said those of them who retired before 2017, when the SDA policy was formulated, were initially excluded, adding that reasons were advanced as to the use of their competencies and skills in retirement.
The president urged the veteran community to exercise patience while government continued to implement the debarment policy, which according to him, will have positive impact on them.
He assured the military authority of the readiness of the veterans to continue to help to secure the nation, especially in ensuring peaceful 2023 general elections.

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