Armed forces remembrance day: Govs, APC call for enhanced military welfare

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…Buhari, Osinbajo, Saraki, others lay wreaths to honour fallen heroes
…Army releases 244 repentant Boko Haram

By Our reporters

ABUJA— President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, led service chiefs, other top government functionaries and members of the diplomatic corps to lay wreaths in honour of those that died in service in Nigeria and at international assignments.

This came as the Nigerian Army said it has released 244 repentant Boko Haram terrorists to the Borno State government.

Also, some state governors called for prayers for families of those who died in active duties.

This was part of activities marking the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration, which culminated in the laying of wreaths at the National Military Cenotaph, Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari laying a wreath during the ceremony to mark the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day at the arcade, Eagle Square, Three Arms Zone, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida 15/01/2018

Aside the president and his vice, other personalities present at the wreath laying ceremony were Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki; Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

Others were the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin and the Service Chiefs— Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas.

The ceremony, which holds on January 15 of every year, at National Memorial Arcade in Abuja, is also dedicated to appreciating surviving military men who have retired from active service.

Army releases 244 repentant Boko Haram

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has released 244 repentant Boko Haram terrorists.

Presenting the repentant insurgents, yesterday to Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State at the Maimalari Barracks Military cemetery, venue of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, the Theatre Commander, Major General Rogers Nicolas said “on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, I wish to handover these 244 repentant Boko Haram to you for re-uniting them back to the society.”

Those released include, 56 female, 118 male adult, 19 under aged and 51 children, which the army said have undergone the de-radicalization process.

Receiving the repentant insurgents, Governor Kashim Shettima commended the Nigerian Army for releasing the repentant Boko Haram insurgents and advised them to be of good behaviour.

Saraki, Dogara seek military welfare

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has called on the Federal Government and military authorities to prioritize the welfare of both their serving and retired personnel; in view of the enormous sacrifices they render to sustain the peace and security of the country.

Saraki said: “While serving members of the armed forces must be made to feel that their effort at protecting the territorial integrity of the country and assisting in the maintenance of law and order internally – often at the risk of their very lives – is not in vain, the welfare of the immediate families of all our fallen heroes must be given due consideration.”’

Also, Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Dogara said: “As we mark the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day, let us remember to always show genuine appreciation to gallant men and women who deprived themselves of so much so that we may have this nation, Nigeria. Even in death, their sacrifice will never be in vain.”

Ajimobi rallies support for fallen heroes

Towing the same line, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State said: “We must always give honour to those whom it is due. Today, we are honouring our fallen heroes who have laid down their lives for  national peace and unity. The lesson is that we will die at the end of the day. What do you like to have believed? How do you want to be remembered? We are remembering them today as heroes because they paid the utmost  sacrifice in the service of humanity and godliness.”

Lalong, Ambode call for prayers

Marking the Remembrance Day, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State  encouraged families of fallen heroes and those alive not to think that their sacrifices to the nation is in vain as they did what they did to restore peace in the nation.

He said: “We thank God for the opportunity and also the gallant display of our fallen heroes, if they didn’t do what they did and sacrificed their lives, perhaps we wouldn’t be alive today.”

Also speaking, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of the Lagos State urged Nigerians to always seek peaceful means by exploring dialogue as a necessary mechanism for conflict resolution

Haid: “While commending officers and men of our armed forces for demonstrating courage and gallantry in the face of threat to national unity, I call on fellow citizens to give peace a chance. Let us eschew violence and embrace dialogue as the preferred mechanism for conflict resolutions.”

Nigerians are unhappy—Wike

On his part, Rivers State governor, Mr Nyesom Wike said: “Mr President must match his commitment not only with responsible actions but also stop the state sanctioned marginalization that is fuelling most of the avoidable crisis in the polity by giving  every section of the country a sense of belonging and justice.  For, not many Nigerians are happy with the current state of the nation, especially, the direction it is headed and the unending killings and shedding of innocent blood across the country.”

Nigeria facing challenges of evil herdsmen — Okorocha

On his part, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State said Nigeria was passing through difficulties of terrorism and evil herdsmen.

Okorocha, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo said: “Nigeria today is passing through a very difficult time. We are having so many challenges, ranging from terrorism to activities of the evil herdsmen and those who have chosen to kill for no just reason.

We must not experience another war —Masari

Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, however,  cautioned Nigerians not to allow the nation experience another war saying: “We must cast our minds back, at the events that led to the civil war, the immense human capital loss of the tragic war, and resolve that never again shall we allow our dear nation to experience another war.”

Give attention to widows—Akeredolu

Canvassing special attention for the widows and dependants of fallen members of the nation’s Armed Forces, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State said: “One aspect and perhaps the most significant of the celebration is the need to pay special attention to the welfare of the widows and dependant relatives of the departed ones.

Tambuwal pledges welfare commitment for war veterans

On his part, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State pledged increased commitment toward improving the welfare of late, retired and present soldiers in view of their services to the nation.

In his pledge, Tambuwal said: “I want to assure you that my government would continue to support families of slain war veterans and retired ones, as well as motivate the present soldiers.”

Amosun, Aregbesola warn against war

The Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who spoke  with newsmen  shortly after   the celebration of the 2018 edition of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day at the Arcade Ground, Abeokuta, said: “My message is that we should as a people and as a nation appreciate the selfless efforts and service of all our military and paramilitary service. All men that have laid their lives for what we have today.”

Also, Governor of Osun state, Mr Rauf Aregbesola said: “War is a very bad business. It is costly, deadly and ruinous, even for a supposedly winner. It is worse for the loser. Indeed, all are loser in a war. The resources, human and material, used to prosecute wars could have been used for the development of the people. The lesson of history is that nations and people emerged from wars weakened, devastated, poor and vulnerable.

APC hails Armed Forces

Also commemorating the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day, the All Progressives Congress, APC, lauded the gallant military that fought for the unity and territorial integrity of Nigeria.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, the party said: “Our thoughts and prayers are also with our injured and fallen soldiers and with their friends, families and loved ones. We all have a duty to ensure the welfare of the families and dependants left behind.”

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