The Nigerian Legion, Lagos chapter on Sunday said that it had sealed a deal in Epe to acquire 283 hectres of land which would be used to provide accomodation for military veterans.

The chairman, of the legion, DCG Akeem Wolimoh said this in an interview with a reporter in Lagos State.

Wolimoh said that there many ex service men who were living in one room shanties and slums in very unfavourable conditions as a result of lack of accomodation.
“We want to support the needs of military veterans especially in the area of accomodation because living in unfavorable conditions have negatively impacted their health.
“As recommended in the Nigerian Legion Act, the legion is saddled with the responsibility to provide hostels and accommodate those veterans that are perceived to be in need of accomodation.
“It is also recommended that the legion shall provide necessary support to the families of fallen heroes and deceased ex service men one way or the other,” he said.

According to the chairman, the plan of the legion is to build an all encompassing estate that would have a resort centre, medical facility, farmland, market, among other things.

He, however said that financial constrain made the speedy attainment of the lofty idea a bit slow but that they were making progress at a gradual rate.

“We have met with a financial mortgage institution and we were advised to go and register a cooperative which we have done in the name of Nigerian Legion Multipurpose Organisation in January 2023.
“Efforts are ongoing now to get the necessary approval from the government and then bring in investors because it is a huge project that the legion cannot financially handle on it’s own.
“We already have the land, all that is remaining now is government approval and once that sets in, construction will start,” he said.

Wolimoh said that the public-private partnership towards the project would start off with building 30 units of houses as a matter of urgency to meet the accomodation challenge of veterans.
“This will enable us to quickly provide accommodation for 30 families and get them off the deplorable conditions in which they are presently living in.

“By the time the financiers settle down fully, we should be able to provide enough accomodation that will address this challenge within the span of 10 to 20 years.
“The housing project will be a continuous one that will be catering for ex service men as they retire from active service,” he said.

Wolimoh said that he got the idea to build an encompassing estate that would likened to a farmyard housing estate from the experience he had as a young man growing up in Epe.

“When I was growing up in Epe I experienced how wives of soldiers then from the military barracks in Epe contributed significantly to stabilising the prices of food in the market.
“Whenever they come with their farm produce to Ayetoro market, which is the central market in Epe, the market price of farm produce will significantly fall.
“As a result of cultivating their farmlands in military barracks, they were able to harvest large quantities of crops which greatly impacted on the society to the benefit of the consumers,” he said.

The chairman said that it was a scenario worth recreating in the Nigerian Legion’s proposed housing estate.

“All we need are capable retired veterans who can still supervise farming activities in a corporate way where each one will be responsible per portion of farm land.
“So, the estate will serve as both accomodation for the veterans, means of sustenance as well as a source of economic relief to the community through their farm produce,” he said.

Wolimoh also said that the Lagos chapter of the legion would soon be commissioning the ground breaking ceremony of the Nigerian Legion Training Institute at Itokin, Epe.

“Within that place, we already have plans to build a secondary school and mini health centre for ex-service men .
“We need a health centre for ex-service men where they can be admitted especially for those who don’t have people taking care of them at their old age.

“This challenge is not only peculiar to Nigeria but also other countries of the world where ex-service men suffer because they don’t have family members to take care of them,” he said.

The chairman said that they had already invited people to register as caregivers and that enough people had already shown interest in the job of caring for veterans.

“In addition we have about 350 registered widows of fallen heroes in Lagos State that we reach out to during every festival to cushion the effect of the high cost of living.
“So, we have taken steps towards achieving this plan and have set up our machinery already especially in the aspect of housing and provision of medical facility.

“We are presently taking care of five military veterans that are on sick bed, paying their bills and buying drugs that are not covered by their NHIS,” Wolimoh said.

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