Victoria, the wife of a Nigerian soldier who was killed by bandits, Private Samuel Elijah, says life has not been fair to her and the children since her husband’s death in 2012.
Victoria said she had to withdrawn her last child from school because she couldn’t afford to pay her school fees.
According to her, the military authorities have failed to pay benefits accruable to the dependents of soldiers who lost their lives during active service.
She said, “In 2012 he travelled with his Commander from Enugu to Abuja, and on the way, armed men attacked and killed him on that trip.
“We had three children before his death. Two of the children are in secondary school but I withdrew our last child from school because I cannot afford to pay her school fees. My first child is 15 years old, the second is 13 years old while our last child is nine years old. At the moment I live in an uncompleted building with my children. Life has not been fair to us but we are toiling on and we need help to carry on.”
According to Arewa Voice, Victoria is not alone in this hopeless state, another widow, Mrs. Nsima Amos, narrated her ordeal in her attempt to collect her husband’s benefits.
The mother of four from Akwa Ibom State said her late husband served at the Nigeria Army School of Military Engineers, NASME, Makurdi, Benue State.
She said, “My husband was a Master Warrant Officer, MWO, Emmanuel Amos. He died September 16, 2013, in active service during the crisis in Jos and life has not been easy with us since his death.
“Some of my children have finished school, and some are still in school. Our pain is that some of the entitlements we are supposed to get after my husband’s death have not been paid up till now. His group life insurance has not been paid. Nobody is telling us why we cannot get the entitlements almost eight years after his death.
“I have been going to Army Headquarters over the matter but they keep telling me to be patient, but life has been unbearable for us. Taking care of the children in the absence of my husband has been a herculean task.
“At the moment we live outside the barracks and I am doing a temporary job with the Federal Medical Centre in Makurdi to support the children. I appeal to the military authorities to look into the cases of widows of late servicemen, ensure that entitlements are paid without delay as well as put in place a scheme that can help us train our children in school because some of our children are now dropping out of school because of lack money.”
Mrs. Grace Adah, a mother of seven children in her account said: “My late husband was in the 1978 set. My husband was Warrant Officer, WO, Adah Patrick who retired in 2013 and died in March 2017. Since his death, I have not received his entitlements. I went to Abuja severally for that reason but nothing has been done. Nobody is also giving me any reason why we must be subjected to this pain after my husband served his country meritoriously as an air force personnel.
“I am pleading with the military authorities to passionately look into our travail and ensure that we get the entitlement that should come to us after his death. Also, our children are eager and interested to get enlisted into the force to help our families but it is almost impossible for them to get recruited. My children have tried severally to get enlisted but because we do not know anybody to help us they are never recruited.
“I am begging the authorities to do something in that regard. Aside from removing the bottlenecks that delay the payment of entitlements, our children should be availed the right of first refusal whenever there is recruitment so that the interested ones can join the armed forces without hitches just like their fathers.”
Also, a mother of four, Mrs. Patience Adejoh, recalled that her late husband, Sergeant Paul Adejoh, died in Maiduguri when her last child was two years and four months. She said: “My late husband died on July 10, 2014, in Maiduguri where he went for an operation. It is God that has been taking care of us since his death. I do petty trading to support my family but it can barely take care of the needs of my children and myself.
“Since his death, we have been making efforts to get all his entitlements paid. His gratuity was paid but his life insurance is presently an issue. When we make efforts to have the military authorities pay us, they keep telling us there is a problem while we continue to suffer. Our children are dropping out of school and feeding our families is also a major challenge, especially with the present economic downturn.”