*As Buhari, Defence Minister, others lay wreaths at National Arcade
*Govs speak, harp on unity
By Dayo Johnson, Kingsley Omonobi, Egufe Yafugborhi, Rotimi Ojomoyela, Adeola Badru, Shina Abubakar & James Ogunnaike
The Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor, yesterday dismissed the thought of any possibility of the military taking over power in Nigeria, saying democracy has come to stay in the country.
He also assured that the Armed Forces would work solidly behind the Nigerian Police Force, which is the lead security agency to ensure safe, free and fair general elections in 2023.
The CDS spoke in Abuja after the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration. While fielding questions from newmen, he gave assurances from the Armed Forces to the people of Nigeria and affirmed: “Never again, will we see men in uniform take power.
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“Let me say, democracy has come to stay. I mean, government of the people, by the people and for the people in Nigeria has come to stay. That is an assurance, and then of course for the elections, I am sure you know, that the police are on the lead.
“I have been discussing with the Inspector General of Police, IGP, and of course, we have also made contingencies should we be required to give support to the police as the election is conducted. I think for Nigerians, you are rest assured that the Armed Forces remain solidly behind the police to be able to give them all the support as required.”
On the remembrance day celebrations, he said: “The Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration is not a day of mourning. It is the day that we need to give thanks to God, that men and women of this great nation once served, are serving and will continue to serve this country.
“And that we have that level of love for country that men and women have committed to and, if need be, sacrifice their lives so that the rest of us can be live. I think it’s a worthy thing.
“So, today, it is a very unique day, that the nation has set it aside to value, to place a premium on the services and honouring the services of men or women of our great country.
“And I think that is the message that has gone across to all personnel of the armed forces. So, we are more motivated to continue to play our part.
“And then for the veterans to also know that their services, the sacrifices that they made is not in vain, which, of course, is quite motivating for them too.”
Buhari, Defence Minister, others lay wreaths at National Arcade
President Muhammadu Buhari; Minister of Defence, Major-General Bashir Magashi (retd), and service chiefs, yesterday, honoured Nigeria’s fallen heroes with Buhari laying a wreath at the National Arcade, Abuja to mark the grand finale of the 2023 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebrations.
The ceremony was held by the Nigerian Armed Forces to honour the fallen heroes, who paid the supreme price in line of duty serving the nation.
The Defence Minister later performed the symbolic laying of the wreath at the feet of the Unknown Soldier alongside his counterpart, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello.
Among others who joined the wreath-laying ceremony were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President Ahmad Lawan; House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila; Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola; Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor; and the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Usman Baba Alkali.
President Buhari later signed the Remembrance Day register and released the pigeons, which signify peace in the nation.
Ondo disburses N16m loan to departed heroes, legions’ wives
To commemorate the day, the Ondo State government, yesterday, disbursed N16 million interest free loans to 86 wives of departed heroes and Legions in the state.
Also, the state government, donated the sum of N2.5 million to Nigerian Legion through an emblem appeal fund and donations by individuals
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said this at the final parade and laying of wreaths to celebrate the day in Akure.
Akeredolu, represented by his Deputy, Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, said: “All over the world, every society has a unique culture and ways through which they honour their heroes. The Parade/Laying of Wreaths is, therefore, part of our own culture of honouring our heroes in Nigeria
“Our efforts in this direction will continue under this scheme and other packages. This gesture will go a long way to energise the serving officers to continually give their best in the service to their fatherland.”
Don’t take heroes’ sacrifices for grante —Abiodun
Also, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, urged Nigerians to support the widows and children left behind by the nation’s fallen heroes so that their labour would not be in vain.
The governor, who made the call in an interview after the laying of wreaths and parade by members of the Armed Forces at the Arcade Ground, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, attributed the peace and security in the country to the efforts of men and women who sacrificed their lives for a united Nigeria.
His words: “They died protecting the nation against internal and external aggressions. We must continue to ensure that we remember the widows, widowers and the children who are now fatherless or motherless.”
Shun hostility, live in peace, Oyebanji tells
Similarly, Governor Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State, urged Nigerians to shun hostility, and live in peace and harmony with one another.
Oyebanji spoke shortly after laying commemorative wreaths at the Ekiti Parapo Pavilion, Ado Ekiti. venue of the 2023 Grand Finale of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration, which attracted top government officials, military veterans and traditional rulers.
Governor Oyebanji, who said Nigeria can only be at peace when the citizens live in unity and harmony, said: “My message is for us to continue to maintain peace because those that we are remembering today paid the sacrifice with their life for peace and if we have a peaceful country, then there will be no reason for people to lose their lives, so it speaks to the importance of peaceful co-existence and I appeal to all Nigerians to live in peace and harmony.”
Adeleke advocates national dialogue on security financing
On his part, Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State, called for urgent national dialogue on sustainable financing of security sector amid national economic crisis.
Speaking at the 2023 Armed Forces Remembrance Day in Osogbo, Governor Adeleke, who described the event as a solemn tribute to the dead and the living, noted that proper attention to welfare of service personnel is a guarantor for national security.
His words: “We are celebrating men and women who paid the supreme price for the continuous existence of our nation as an indivisible entity. We salute our heroes, the gallant servicemen whose blood were spilled for national defense. At the same time, we pay homage to our veterans, the living witnesses of patriotic service.
“Governments at all levels must ensure that our gratitude translate to improved service conditions for service personnel and unconditional care for the veterans and their families.
“I advocate a renewed focus on funding of the security sector alongside security sector reform. As a nation, we are faced with mounting security challenges at a time of national and global economic crises.”
Makinde cautions military against partisan politics
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State praised the nation’s armed forces for their efforts in battling insurgency, urging them to continue to do their best to ensure peace reigns in the country.
The governor also urged them to remain neutral to partisan politics because at the end of everything, politics will go and the country will remain.
Makinde, in his brief remarks at the grand finale/laying of wreaths for the 2023 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration, held at the Remembrance Arcade, Government House, assured that he would continue to support dependants of fallen heroes.
He said: “My advice to the security agencies is to remain neutral; the country belongs to all of us. At the end of everything, politics will go and our country will remain.
“And also let me use this opportunity to thank the officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces for what they are doing for our country at this period.”
Wike donates N100 million to ex-servicemen
Governor Nyesom Wike of River State, yesterday, donated N100 million to the Nigerian Legion on occasion of the 2023 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration in the state.
Wike announced the donation after laying the wreath at the ceremony held at Isaac Boro Park, Port Harcourt, in a speech in which he also commended President Buhari for sustaining the fight against insecurity across the country.
The governor noted that since the civil war ended, there was hardly a year the nation’s armed forces had not been assigned to one bloody combat mission or the other within or outside the country.
“I commend President Buhari for sustained efforts at defeating Boko Haram insurgents and bandits terrorizing and destroying our communities in parts of our country. The restoration of peace to our troubled geo-political regions and the conduct of free and fair general elections are the best legacies you can live for our country.”
On the sacrifices of the armed forces and their families, the governor said: “We respect them for the dangerous professional path they willingly chose and love them as our children, relations, friends and members of our communities in the nation’s service.
“We owe them a great deal as a nation. We owe them as states. We owe them as a people. Collectively, we owe them a debt we cannot repay…
“As a state government, we have, over the years, provided financial support to our veterans through the State Office of the Nigerian Legion. We have since redeemed the N50million, pledge we made during the remembrance emblem appeal fund launch in December 2022.
“Today, I wish to donate the sum of N100million on behalf of the State government for the economic empowerment of the veteran servicemen from Rivers State.”
We share your pains, Ugwuanyi tells wives of fallen heroes
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu, yesterday, participated in the activities marking this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, AFRD, assuring wives of fallen heroes in the state that his administration shares their pains.
Immediately after the activities marking the AFRD, the governor identified with wives of fallen heroes seated at the event and assured them of the continued prayers and support of the state government towards the wellbeing of their families, amid tears of joy.
The governor, therefore, announced the donation of cash and food items to each of the 210 wives of the fallen heroes in Enugu State, describing the event as a solemn moment for the state and the country.
The governor Ugwuanyi also identified with officers of the military and commended them for the sacrifices they make for the peace and stability of the state, stressing that “the peace we have here in Enugu would have been difficult without you people; we are grateful.”
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