By Kingsley Omonobi
Military Pensions Board, MPB, has unveiled its plans to transmute from manual verification of all military pensioners to a more secure and user-friendly electronic verification.
The chairman of MPB, Commodore Saburi Lawal, announced this at the inauguration of staff and office accommodation and other projects at the board’s permanent site at Dutse, Abuja.
He said that transmuting to online verification of military pensioners would come on stream before the end of the year, after obtaining approval from appropriate superior authorities.
According to him, the board was currently doing manual verification by sending teams all over the country and request pensioners to gather at designated spots.
He said: “When I took over, I realised that it is very stressful, it is even dangerous in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“You cannot tell pensioners of over 3,000 to gather at a state capital for the purpose of verification without health hazards to the occupants of the place where they are going to gather and even to themselves.
“Don’t forget that some of them are older than 70, 80 years.
“So, when you tell them to come from their various places and gather at a spot, where they stay for two, three days or even one week.
“They are verified manually and it affects their health but when I took over, I looked at it and I said No! We have to leverage technology.
“That is why I went ahead, sought the approval of my superiors and we got the go-ahead to find a way around it. Instead of manual verification, we will embark on electronic verification.”
The chairman explained that with electronic verification, the pensioners would no longer have to travel anywhere before being verified.
He said that the board would configure an app just like any other app that people have on their phones.
“You download the app, you talk to the app, it asks you questions, you answer and at the end, once you can answer all the things we ask you through the app, you stand verified.
“Through the app, your biometric will be captured, your eyelids and the facial picture will be captured.
“You don’t need to go anywhere, whether you are in the office, your bedroom or in your sitting room, you can download the app and carry out your own electronic verification by yourself.
“If you are not literate enough because of some people that are not conversant with the usage of apps, we have made additional provision for them to go to the nearest bank and the bank staff there will assist them.
“Most essentially, our aim is that from the comfort of your home, once you have a smartphone that can download an app, you will get yourself verified without letting anyone know,” he added.
Commissioning the project, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Awwal Gambo said the plan by the MPB to embark on electronic verification of military pensioners to replace the manual system was a laudable initiative.
The CNS among others, said “the plan by the MPB to embark on electronic verification of military pensioners to replace the manual system is a laudable initiative.
“It is envisaged that the electronic verification of military pensioners would resolve the challenges experienced in the existing manual system.
‘Today’s event is a manifestation of the genuine desire to add value and improve the welfare and wellbeing of personnel, veterans and civilian staff at the board.
“This feat no doubt deserves some commendation considering the dwindling national resources amidst other competing demands coupled with global economic downturn arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I must therefore applaud the leadership of the Military Pensions Board for the prudent utilization of limited resources for the improvement of the welfare of personnel, civilian staff, esteemed retirees and Next of Kins of our deceased personnel.
“Pertinently, the newly constructed transit accommodation for officers and non-commissioned officers as well as the remodelled 24 office spaces would address the accommodation challenges faced by personnel at the Board.”