The federal government has challenged Nigerian Ex-Servicemen (members of the Nigerian Legion) to contribute their own quota to the fight against insecurity in the country.
Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) gave the charge while speaking to newsmen at the official national flag-off ceremony of bulk distribution of tricycles to interested ex-servicemen and veteran associations on hire-purchase basis by the National Personal Assets Acquisition Scheme (NAPAAS) with a flexible 2-year repayment plan in Abuja at the weekend.
NAPAAS is a federal government public private partnership (PPP) empowerment initiative targeted at providing basic needs items at affordable price under a flexible repayment plan to interested ex-servicemen, including retired paramilitary officers and veteran associations nationwide.
The minister who was represented by Major General Suleiman Isa Wali (rtd), said he tasked the legionaries on what they could put their heads together and come up with that would help in the fight against the insecurity confronting the country from all fronts.
“They live in every nook and cranny of this country, including the villages, and are in a better position to have the information about any suspicious moves in those areas than those of us who are in the towns,” he said.
According to the former general, the significance of NAPAAS lies in the fact that men and women in service would have the hope that in the event of death, their spouses would have something at least to fall back on, and such would be a morale booster for them while carrying out their assignments.
Earlier in his welcome address, Managing Director/CEO of NAPAAS Mohammed Bello, after expressing gratitude to God, President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister, and the development partners-Andnas Mije Ltd, Stallion Bajaj, Jaiz Bank among other stakeholders for the success so far recorded by the scheme, called on all ex-servicemen who have need to key into the programme for their economic uplift.
The National Project Coordinator, Engr Chukwuka Nnadi Eze explained that the national launch of the scheme was meant to ensure that it captures all the states of the federation as well as the FCT, as it had already been launched in Jos, Plateau State for the 19 northern states earlier.
He said the tricycles were being given out to ex-servicemen and widows of the fallen heroes at N1 million of which not more than one-third of their pension has to be deducted via remitted over the 2 years, adding that in the case of the wives, they are given through a guarantor.
According to Engr Eze, the scheme, through the equipment provider-Stallion Bajaj, does periodic maintenance on the tricycles for the beneficiaries.
He revealed that plans were underway to launch a micro-finance bank under the scheme for the benefit of members, even as agriculture, housing and home appliances are also among the focal areas.
President Nigerian Ex-servicemen, Anthony Abbas said many of his members and the widows of fallen heroes had benefitted a lot from the scheme in parts of the country.
Virtually all Chairmen of NAPAAS for the 36 states and the FCT were
present at the event.