The Federal Government’s approval for the payment of Pension and Gratuities to Police Officers who served in the defunct Biafra States has been described as a right step towards resolving the issues of marginalization in the South East.
Following the unfortunate Nigeria Civil war that occurred between 1967 and1970, Military and Paramilitary Personnel who were hitherto in the payroll of the Federal Government but found themselves on the side of the Biafra were dismissed.
With the return of Democracy in Nigeria in 1999, the then President , Chief Olusegun Obasanjo granted Presidential pardon to the affected officers and subsequently commuted their dismissal to retirement.
The approval of Pension and Gratuities to one hundred and sixty-two of the affected Police Officers as well as fifty- seven next-of –kins of those who have died is therefore, seen by Residents of Ebonyi State as a step in the right direction.
They made this known while interacting with Radio Nigeria on the approval given by President Mohammadu Buhari.
One of them, Chief Enyi C. Enyi explained that the move would go a long way to assuage the feelings of those who believe that the Federal Government was not doing enough to heal the wounds of the war.
Another Respondent, Mr. John Udeh commended President Buhari for the approval, pointing out that it was a demonstration of Federal Government’s commitment towards ensuring that justice was done on issues surrounding Biafra agitation.
However, a retired Soldier who fought in the war and pleaded anonymity, described the move as belated, emphasizing that the payment should have formed part of the Rehabilitation, Reconciliation and Reconstruction Policy introduced by the Federal Government at the end of the war.
Others who spoke on the issue including a Journalist, Mr. Chukwudi Okutu called on the Federal Government not to stop at the approval but embark on national unification programme to permanently address issues bordering Nigerians since the end of the Civil War.