Nigeria: Nigerian Veterans: Nationalists or Villains?
Oluwaseyi Oshigbo and Olaoluwatomi Oshigbo highlight a starkly complex political context in which Nigerian veterans’ transition is enmeshed. The authors provide an overview of the political evolution of the country from British colonialism through Nigeria as a modern state. While Nigerian soldiers fought side by side with Europeans in the First and Second World Wars, they returned home often problematically as ‘accelerators of change’. Finally gaining independence from the British Empire in 1960, Nigeria experienced periods of military rule (1966–1979 and 1983–1998), which according to the authors still impacts on the transitional context in which Nigerian veterans are involved, which is marked by these deep and historical divisions. In contemporary Nigeria, Armed Forces Day is held in January to coincide with the end of the Biafra Civil War, while discharged veterans access resettlement services at the Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre in Lagos. While Nigeria has many ex-service men and women who enter the political and business sectors, many more face prolonged unemployment. Recently specific health issues have been raised as problematic within the Nigerian veteran population, particularly PTSD and HIV/AIDS, as this cohort experiences diagnosis rates significantly higher than the general population. Periodic verification processes and long waiting times also continue to prove significant barriers to veterans claiming their pension rights.
KeywordsVeterans in politics and philanthropy Mental health Corruption Civil-military gap Pensions and welfare
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