By Sumaila Ogbaje
The immediate past President, 35 Regular Course, retired Air Commodore Emmanuel Golit, has called on the Federal Government to continue to prioritise the welfare of retired military personnel in the country.
Golit made the call at a Gala Night as part of activities commemorating the 35RC 40th anniversary, on Saturday in Abuja.
He said the call was imperative, considering the level of special skills they acquired and the dynamics of insecurity in the country.
Golit noted that a military man who had served his country diligently, up to the point of retirement, had been invested in so much in terms of training and skills.
He added that it was incumbent on the government to see to the welfare of members of the security agencies, particularly those that had skills that could be borrowed or paid for by insurgents.
According to him, such a group needs to be debarred by the government security wise, from selling their skills, either to bandits, terrorists, non-state actors or as the case may be.
“It is incumbent of government to review the welfare and condition of the members of the armed forces, from time to time, because this document has been there for so long.
“Since the 1970s, there has been no deliberate policy to review this document to see to how we can add one or two new areas that can assist these people who have so many skills.
“Also, there has been no deliberate policy to ensure that government will get value for the money invested.
“There should be loan facilities for those who have skills to give back to society, because if they create jobs, the value will go to Nigeria, or you keep them busy instead of wasting those skills.
“In other climes, you don’t stay in the armed forces for up to 10 years and retire without looking for somewhere to fix you so that you can continue to help your country,” he said.
On their 40th anniversary celebration, Golit said the course had been assisting its members and the larger society through its “Friends of the needy, hope and succour foundation” initiatives.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees, 35 RC, retired Maj.-Gen. John Malu, said that Jan. 19 marked the 40 years of their entrance into the Nigerian Academy (NDA) as regular cadets, adding that many of them had served 35 years and retired.
Malu said their quest to continue in their unison, propelled them to form the foundation to be able to assist themselves and the needy.
Malu said the nation must accept that Nigeria was going through trying periods, particularly as it affected security, and called on all the security forces to close ranks in tackling the challenges head on.
According to him, it is a matter of time and the nation will overcome because evil cannot triumph over good, and our security forces have been doing their best.
The new President of 35 RC, retired Air Commodore Danladi Bausa, promised to sustain the bond and unity that had existed between them.
He encouraged those still serving to continue to give in their best in all the theatres of operations, to counter the menace of insurgency and other forms of insecurity bedeviling the country.
According to him, “there are distractions and challenges, no doubt that should be expected, but I want to encourage them to keep doing what they are doing and what they know how to do best and if possible, eliminate the enemies of this country from the face of the earth”.
The Minister of Defence, Alhaji Muhammed Badaru, who was represented by his Special Adviser (Technical), retired Maj.-Gen. Ahmed-Tijani Jibril, commended the retired officers for their sacrifices and service to the nation both in and outside service.
Badaru also sympathized with families of those who had passed away, and prayed for good health for the living members while urging them to continue to sustain the bond of unity between them.
He urged them to continue to look for opportunities to make themselves relevant wherever they found themselves and try to also mentor as many of the serving personnel as possible. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Yinusa Ishola/Idris Abdulrahman