The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu disclosed this during an official visit to the Ministry of Defence Headquarters, Tuesday in Abuja.
Edu said the federal government has expanded the welfare scheme to accommodate ex-service men, their widows and dependants in fulfilment of the Renewed hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu promise to Nigerians.
The Minister said the new innovation became necessary to include those who paid the Supreme price for the Sustainance of the peace of the country and their dependants to serve as a morale booster for those currently securing the country.
She sought for the accurate data of the affected ex- servicemen and their dependants to enable them to be captured in the ongoing national social register verification
” This scheme is in line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu renewed hope agenda and I am here to inform you that the programe has been expanded to accommodate retired personnel of Ministry of Defence mostly families of those who lost their lives in the course of defending the country.
“Their wives can use this to startup small businesses that will help their children stay in school and provide basic health care and even sustain the families. Of course, your Excellency, this guest show is not only for the 75,000 their their household.she added.
The Minister said the federal government has created Government Enterprise Empowerment Programe (GEEP) which is geared towards helping Small Scale businesses and boosting the welfare of Nigeria market women and farmers which the ex- service men and widows can key into.
Dr Edu equally called on the Ministry of Defence to collaborate with Humanitarian Ministry to ensure President Bola Ahmed succeeds in eradicating poverty in Nigeria.
She reiterated her Ministry’s readiness to ensure that those who served the country meritoriously and died in active service are not left behind in the scheme, The minister also requested the Minister of Defence to provide adequate security cover for Humanitarian workers while going about to carry out their national assignment in all the states prone to Insecurity.
In his response, the Hon Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, said the visit was timely and thanked Dr Edu for including the retirees in the welfare scheme which he said, will go a long way to renewed the hope of retired officers and their families and motivate the working officers to secure the Nigeria territororial integrity.
The Defence Miniser who was accompanied at the event with his Minister,Bello Mattawale said be rest assured that the Defence Ministry will collaborate with its Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation counterpart to ensure proper coordination of the scheme.
“We want you to send our sincere appreciation to Mr. President for doing the exceptional by considering us we thank him for giving you this opportunity to help the nation and also we thank God for giving you the opportunity to be innovative on the job that you’re doing. When you met the Chief of Defence Staff, the words came to round that you are supporting the military, all our team became delighted and happy” he said.
On his part, Chairman of Nigeria Legion,Major General Abdulmalik Jubril (RTD), thanked President Bola Tinubu and Dr Edu,for the new innovation, saying “this has never happened before”
He said Nigeria Legion is the last hope for retired officers which he said keep increasing in numbers.
The legion he said will need health care, welfare and livelihood for its members
‘” This organ of the Military(Army, Airforce and Navy) retirees needs government support , such gesture like this has not been given to us before including wives and families of the fallen heros” .