President Bola Tinubu, yesterday, led other Nigerian leaders, members of the National Assembly, the judiciary, the armed forces, and other critical stakeholders to honour the nation’s living and fallen heroes by laying wreaths at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at the National Arcade, Abuja.
Those who graced the ceremony were President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio; Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas; Minister of Defence, Abubakar Badaru; and Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
Others at the wreath-laying ceremony were Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, who led all the Service Chiefs and the Inspector General of Police, among others, to honour the country’s departed heroes.
The Nigerian Legion urged the Tinubu administration not to get tired of looking at the welfare of veterans, especially in relation to salary increase for serving members of the armed forces.
Similarly, in commemoration of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, former President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki; presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general election, Mr. Peter Obi; and governors, among others, challenged the military, and also made appeals on their behalf.
The wreath-laying ceremony was the climax of activities marking the armed forces remembrance day, which began with the launch in October 2023 of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem by Tinubu.
Christian and Muslim prayers were offered by the services clergymen for the living and peaceful repose of the souls of the departed heroes, who fought gallantly for global peace. This was followed by the observance of a minute silence.
Tinubu led the wreath-laying ceremony accompanied by Commander, Guards Brigade, at the foot of the Unknown Soldier.
Following was President of the Senate; Speaker, House of Representatives; Chief Justice of Nigeria; Minister of the FCT; Minister of State for Defence; and Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps in Nigeria.
The service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police, among others, took their turns to lay wreaths.
Ceremonial shots were fired by soldiers as part of the activities at the event.
The event ended with the signing of the anniversary register by Tinubu before his symbolic release of white pigeons to signify peace.
The Armed Forces Remembrance Day is an annual event organised by the Ministry of Defence to honour the country’s fallen heroes, who made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of humanity during the First and Second World Wars, the Nigerian Civil War, Peace Support Operations around the world, as well as various Internal Security Operations.
Abbas hailed the Nigerian armed forces for their gallantry and patriotism, saying they remain one of the best in the world.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Musa Abdullahi Krishi, the speaker said Nigeria would not experience prosperity if the country was not safe and secure for businesses and other economic activities to thrive. He said this underscored the critical role of the armed forces in the general wellbeing of the nation.
Abbas noted that while parts of the country still experienced security threats, the armed forces had risen to the occasion most times.
He, however, urged the military, security and intelligence agencies to do more in securing lives and property, which, he noted, is the primary responsibility of the government.
Chairman of Nigerian Legion, Major General Abdulmalik Jibrin (rtd), while answering questions from newsmen at the end of the ceremonies, said, “I want the government to continue to enhance the well-being of those who have served and left.
“Those families of the fallen heroes, including those who are serving. Government should not get tired of looking at the welfare of veterans, especially when it’s related to the increase of salary of serving members of the armed forces.”
Jibrin also called on the government to remember those who made the supreme sacrifice during the First and Second World Wars and other international engagements, including operations in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and under the United Nations and Africa Union.
Saraki: Event Should Remind Leaders of Commitment to New Nigeria
Former President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, called on Nigerian leaders to see the annual armed forces remembrance day as a reinforcement for a new Nigeria.
Saraki explained that the Remembrance Day should not be a mere ritual, but one that would reassure members of the armed forces that their efforts to keep the nation united were not in vain.
He stated, “Today, across the nation, we gather not just to remember the fallen heroes of our Armed Forces, but to reaffirm our shared resolve to the ideals they championed.
“Their unyielding bravery, their selfless sacrifice, and their determination to keep this nation safe are their legacy. But this legacy demands more than remembrance. It demands action. It demands that we forge a brighter future for which they paid the ultimate price.
“It demands building a nation worthy of the blood and sweat of our men and women in uniform – and their families. It demands a nation where peace reigns, where justice prevails – and where the mantle of progress they bore is carried forward with purpose.”
Obi: Armed Forces Must Be Resolute to Conquer All Terrorism Acts
The presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP) in the last general election and former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, in his message, urged the armed forces to remain resolute in their resolve to conquer the monster of insecurity currently ravaging the country.
Obi appreciated the efforts of the late armed forces heroes, praying that their efforts would not be in vain.
He stated, “On this Armed Forces Remembrance Day, I join other Nigerians in appreciating our military men who, in order to ensure peace and security within our borders, are willing to pay untold sacrifice.
“Today, we encourage them to remain resolute in their resolve to conquer the ugly monster of insecurity currently ravaging our dear nation. We remember, especially our fallen heroes, who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while defending the peace,
“May this day renew their love, zeal, and courage to remain firm in their struggles for a peaceful and crime-free Nigeria. May we, the leaders, ensure that the welfare of our armed forces and their families are well taken care of, as they graciously serve our nation.”
Sanwo-Olu: We Must Continue to Support Our Fallen Heroes
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, called for continuous support of the Nigerian Armed Forces and remembrance of families of fallen heroes, who paid the supreme price for the peace and security of the country.
Sanwo-Olu made the appeal at the 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Interdenominational Divine Service, themed, “Honouring Sacrifice (John 15:14)” held at the Chapel of Christ The Light, The Secretariat, Alausa, on Sunday.
The service was attended by members of the State Executive Council, permanent secretaries, All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains, Commanding Officers in Lagos State, members of the armed forces, members of the Nigerian Legion, religious leaders, families of the fallen heroes, and Christian faithful, among others.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr. Gboyega Soyannwo, said the occasion presented an opportunity to remember the fallen heroes as they paid the supreme price by sacrificing their lives for the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
The governor stated, “We are gathered here in the presence of God and in thanksgiving to Him as we remember our fallen heroes, who paid the supreme sacrifice while preserving the unity and territorial integrity of our nation.
“Today, the government and the good people of Lagos State are united to appreciate the sacrifice of the departed; to pray for the continued repose of their souls; to remember their families left behind as well as those who have become incapacitated (one way or the other) as a result of injuries sustained in the war front.”
Obaseki: Nigeria’s Fundamental Defects need to be addressed
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, called for urgent actions to address Nigeria’s fundamental defects in order not to force the country into a reset.
Obaseki also hailed the sacrifice and bravery of Nigerian fallen heroes, saluting their contributions to the peace and unity of the country.
The governor, who spoke in Benin City, the Edo State capital, reiterated the need to urgently redesign and restructure the country to address its defects and place the country on the path of growth and prosperity.
He stated, “We thank God for another year and opportunity to remember those people who have sacrificed their lives for the peace and unity of Nigeria.
“The people we are honouring today have paid the supreme price with their lives and it’s important not to forget their efforts. That is why this event is important and we should be sober about it.”
For Lagbaja’s Sake, Adeleke Drums Support Military
Osun State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, appealed to all Nigerians, both in the public and private sectors, to support the Nigerian military as they strive to defend the country and uphold peace and tranquillity in its various parts. Adeleke stated this in Osogbo.
The governor said this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration was unique to Osun State, as the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, was an illustrious son of the state.
Adeleke said, “The 2024 event is unique for Osun State because one of our illustrious sons is the Chief of Army Staff of this great nation. My brother, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, is making Osun proud by his firm and consummate leadership of the Nigerian Army. We are proud of him.
“In the past and present, our sons have played leading roles in various commanding heights of the nation’s military. Therefore, as the laying of wreaths is held nationally today, we have to remember the special place of Osun State in national defence.
“We are, therefore, not just remembering national heroes, but many of our own sons and daughters, who paid supreme price and who are still in the trenches in defence of the nation. We are honouring the memory of the living and the dead.”
Niger to Enrol Families of Ex-servicemen into Its Social Investment Programme
The Niger State government promised to engage families of ex-servicemen in its social investment programmes to make them gainfully employed.
Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago, who was represented by his deputy, Comrade Yakubu Garba, said the families of the ex-servicemen would be enrolled into different categories of the state’s social investment programmes based on their ages.
Bago maintained that the state owed it a duty to cater to the families of fallen heroes, the ex-servicemen, who paid their dues in service to their fatherland.
He promised that the state government would not allow the relations of the ex-servicemen to be subjected to poverty, adding that their services would continuously be needed in dealing with the security challenges in the state.
Chairman of the Nigerian Legion in the state, Mr Mamuda Baba Ahmed, appreciated the efforts of the state government and its commitment to resolution of their plights.
Mbah Pledges Continuous Support to Armed Forces
Enugu State Governor, Peter Mbah, said his administration would continue to support the Nigerian Armed Forces as they continued to secure the lives and property of residents in the state and the country, at large.
Mbah gave the assurance during the laying of wreaths and parade at the Okpara House, Enugu, as part of activities marking the 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance Day. He also assured that the sacrifices of those who died protecting Nigerians would not be in vain.
The governor urged Nigerians to eschew all expressions of hate and acts of violence and insecurity, stressing that only by so doing would the country truly reciprocate the gallantry of the servicemen and honour the memory of those, who paid the supreme price in the service of Nigeria.
He stated, “The Remembrance Day celebration is an annual event to honour the memory of the brave men and women of the armed forces, who have paid the supreme sacrifice to ensure that we and countless others across the globe can continue to live in freedom.
“These selfless men and women, whom we remember and honour today, gave their lives in operations ranging from the Nigerian Civil War and the numerous internal security operations across the country today, to various peacekeeping operations in places as far as Chad, Somalia, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and many others.
“We must constantly rededicate ourselves to the duty of maintaining peace and security across our great nation, not only by eschewing all expressions of hate or acts of violence and insecurity, but also by supporting our brothers and sisters in the security agencies.”
Makinde Tasks Residents to Cooperate with Security Agencies
Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, appealed to residents of the state to always cooperate with the security agencies and inform them of any suspicious acts. The governor stated this at the grand finale of the 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance Day, held at the Remembrance Arcade, Government House, Agodi, Ibadan.
Makinde, while addressing journalists at the end of the event, expressed appreciation to the officers and men of the armed forces for their dedication and for keeping the state and the country safe.
He promised that his administration would continue to support the widows, orphans and other dependents of the fallen heroes.
The governor, who performed the traditional wreath-laying, equally assured the people of the state of maximum safety of lives and property in the state.
Abiodun: Nigeria Will Rise Again
Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, called on Nigerians to have faith in the current political system, the government, and its leaders, saying the country is on the verge of rising again.
Abiodun also called on citizens to shun all acts of violence or acts that did not define them as a people. He also appealed to Nigerians to continue to be their brother’s keepers, urging them to stay away from sowing discord among themselves.
Abiodun urged Nigerians to subscribe to the spirit of nation-building and nationalism, while supporting the families of fallen heroes.
He said, “Let us uphold the spirit of not just nationhood but optimism. Let us have faith in our system, our government, and our leaders. Nigeria is on the verge of rising again.
“For those of us that are not privileged or bold enough to join the armed forces, we should subscribe to nation-building and patriotism.”
Otti Warns Political Leaders against Diminishing Sacrifices of Military Personnel
Abia State Governor Alex Otti urged political leaders to desist from denigrating the Nigerian armed forces over their perceived shortcomings, as “no institution can lay any genuine claim to perfection.”
Otti made the appeal Monday in Umuahia at the event marking the 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance Day. He stated that the military deserved commendation for being the most patriotic institution in the land.
The governor stated, “It is disappointing to observe that most times, we, by our actions and words, make nonsense of the sacrifices in blood, sweat and tears of hundreds of thousands of our servicemen and women.”
Otti argued that while there was no denying that Nigeria “is beset with so many difficult challenges, domestic insecurity, and a growing sense of uncertainty”, things could have been worse without the selfless sacrifices of the armed forces.
He added, “Nothing must take our attention away from the daily sacrifices made by the officers and men in uniform to limit the threats, preserve our national stability and offer us strong lessons in sacrifice and courage.”
Sani: Let’s Reflect on Sacrifices, Armed Forces’ Commitment
Kaduna State Governor, Senator Uba Sani, urged Nigerians to reflect on the sacrifices and commitment of the armed forces in ensuring security, peace and stability in the country.
Speaking with journalists, Sani said the occasion provided an opportunity to Nigerians to honour those who laid down their lives in defence of the country.
He said, “Today’s event offers us the opportunity to honour our veterans. It also gives us the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices, bravery, and commitment of our fallen heroes, who lost their lives in the defence of our territory integrity.”
The governor commended the armed forces and other security agencies for the fight against terrorism, banditry and other criminal acts across the country.
He said the fight against banditry and terrorism was on course, adding that governors would continue to cooperate with the military and other security agencies to bring an end to all forms of criminality bedevilling the country.
NGF Chair Lauds Armed Forces for Services to Nation
Kwara State Governor and Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, lauded fallen and serving men of the armed forces for their tremendous services for the country.
AbdulRazaq said, “The first and most important thing is to appreciate our armed forces for the sacrifices they have rendered (and still rendering) during the First and Second World Wars and internal security operations up till today.”
The governor thanked the security agencies for their excellent role in special operations in some parts of the state, saying, “They hardly sleep at night in the barracks, bushes, and offices. We have to appreciate them.
“We equally appreciate their families, their tremendous role, and how they contribute generously to the efforts to rehabilitate some of them.”
AbdulRazaq stated, “In Kwara (in particular), we appreciate the armed forces. They are doing a yeoman’s job. We thank them for their services all over Nigeria to make the country safe and peaceful. Let us be united in Nigeria.”
Radda: Our Surviving Military Officers Suffer Physical, Physiological Trauma
Governor Dikko Umaru Radda of Katsina State revealed that military officers, who survived deadly operations, were suffering both physical and physiological trauma in the country. Radda disclosed this at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
He said families of officers, who lost their lives in battles, bore the scars of their death throughout their lifetime. He added that the Nigerian fallen heroes, who fought the battles ravaging Nigeria, believed in the stability and unity of the country, hence they laid down their lives for the sake of humanity.
Radda said, “The gallant men and women went into the battlefield knowing full well that they may pay the ultimate price, but remain resolute in their decisions.
“Our courageous men and women are being shot, kidnapped, attacked and killed in various theatres of operations presently going on in different parts of this country.
“These theatres of operations left the surviving ones with both physical and physiological trauma while the families of the late ones bear the scars of the death of their loved heroes throughout their lifetime.”
Yusuf: Kano’ll Establish Security Trust Fund
Kano State Governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, said plans were underway to establish a security trust fund, as part of measures to complement the efforts of security organisations in the state
Speaking during this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day ceremonies in Kano, Yusuf explained that the trust fund would soon be inaugurated.
He stated, “What I intend to do is the inauguration of the Security Trust Fund. We have gone far on that. Very soon we are going to invite the eminent Kano indigenes, as well as eminent Nigerians we feel can come in and contribute so that, at least, we take measures to curtail the insecurity situation in the state.”
Yusuf honoured the families of the fallen heroes and promised to collaborate with the Nigerian Army on how to support the families of the late personnel.
He said, “We commemorate the departure of our armed forces personnel annually. Those who have laid their lives during their services to the nation.”