…Says, ‘Nigeria must never return to war’
From: Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council meeting, performed the twin function of swearing-in the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Gida Mustapha and the launch of the 2018 armed forces emblem with N10 million.
The swearing-in of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, kicked-off at exactly 10:55a.m, with Mustapha taking the Oath of Office, signing the register before shaking hands with the President at 10:59 am.
The armed forces emblem launch, which lasted about 30 minutes, was witnessed Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, Chief of justice of the federation, Walter Onnoghen, Governor Jibrila Bindow of Adamawa State, APC National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin, service chiefs, the Inspector General of Police as well as heads of paramilitary agencies, among others.
President Buhari was decorated by the National President of Nigeria Legion, Brig. Gen. Jones Akpa (rtd), who also decorated Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the new SGF, while the secretary of the association, Capt. John Abdul Adole (rtd) decorated the Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Chief of Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen and Governor Bindow.
President Buhari said the emblem launch was a worthy tradition of recognizing and appreciating the sacrifices of the veterans in the First and Second World Wars, Nigerian Civil War, Peace Support Operations around the world, and Internal Security Operations particularly the ongoing war on insurgency in the Northeastern part of the country.
According to him, Nigerians must cast their 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 must the nation travel that road again.
He said, “It is indeed worthwhile to honour the memory of our distinguished veterans who paid the supreme sacrifice to keep the country united. Some others have spent the best part of their lives in Service to keep our nation and the world in peace.
“The resolve by our countrymen and women to remain in one indivisible and indissoluble nation, Nigeria is at the centre of this celebration. Indeed the Remembrance Day Celebration is being marked on the 15th of January instead of 11th of November as in other Commonwealth nations to commemorate the end of the Nigerian civil war – a war that was fought to keep Nigeria one.
“We must therefore 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 by our actions or inactions to experience another war.”
President Buhari applauded the gallantry, courage and sacrifices of men and women of the Armed Forces as they grapple with diverse and contemporary security challenges plaguing the country.
He said, “I appreciate your display of unparalleled loyalty to the country and dedication to duty. Being one of you, I understand what you have to undergo. This administration will continue to do all within its power and resources to ensure that your welfare is adequately catered for.
“The noble culture of appreciation and respect for veterans and servicemen and women experienced all over the world is very much part of us in Nigeria.
“I therefore look forward to a time when business concerns and service providers in the country would give special recognition and consideration for these distinguished citizens and support the veterans’ cause in any way they can through voluntary donations, employment opportunities and welfare support.”
He said his administration is serious of an improved Armed Forces and expressed happiness that little efforts was yielding positive results.
Buhari said, “As a government we desire to improve the capability of our Armed Forces. I am glad that our efforts are yielding positive results already in boosting the morale of men and women of the Armed Forces.
“We will continue to engage them in training and retraining to improve on their capacity to discharge their constitutional roles.
“As I launch the Emblem today, I call on all Nigerians, the Diaspora and our friends to donate generously to the cause of the Nigerian Legion and families of the Fallen Heroes.
“I implore all to procure and wear the emblem with pride as a way of identifying with those that laid down their lives, the incapacitated and others still who are daily in harm’s way in order to guarantee our peace and security. We will always remember them and the respect we owe them.”
The President while urging all Nigerians, corporate organizations and government agencies to support and partner with the Nigerian Armed Forces in appreciation of the sacrifices of these honourable men and women, commended the legionnaires for their service to the fatherland.
He said, “May I use this medium to commend the Nigerian Legion of which I am the Grand Patron, for its effort in maintaining comradeship of the Servicemen and servicewomen after retirement.
“Let me use this opportunity to thank the state Governors who are patrons of the Legion in their respective states for the support they have been rendering to the Legion. I urge them to continue and improve on this even in the face of dwindling resources.”
The Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali, in his remarks decried the low patronage of the emblems by Nigerians describing it as very discouraging.
He urged Nigerians to emulate the practice in other countries where 80-90 percent of citizens procure and adorn the emblem during the remembrance period,
“Permit me to observe that the patronage of the emblem by Nigerians have not been very encouraging. There is the need to emulate the practice in other countries where 80-90 percent of citizens procure and adorn the emblem during their remembrance period. I therefore urge that we begin to around the awareness and consciousness of our country men and women especially the young ones by inculcating these values their formative years. To achieve this, I call for an inter-ministerial collaboration between the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Information and relevant Ministries Department and Agencies.
“One sure way of identifying with our Armed Forces and contributing to the welfare of our Veterans and families of the fallen heroes is to procure and wear the emblem with pride. We are also enjoined to make donations at this period to the Nigerian Legion to cater for incapacitated veterans and the families of the fallen heroes. Emblem launch and sales have been a veritable source of raising funds that are used to cater for the welfare needs of the families of their departed colleagues.
He said the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration, the MOD in conjunction with DHQ and the services is planning to host the second edition of the international military polo tournament to commemorate and remember our fallen and wounded heroes.
“Part of the funds raised during the planning stage of the tournament will be dedicated to the families of the fallen heroes, legionnaires and some selected military hospitals in the North East to add to the welfare of the wounded soldiers,” he said.
The legionnaires he said provide services such as school crime prevention, security, access control, intelligence gathering and so on. He called on governors from all,levels and the private sector to patronize their services to improve the revenue base of the legion and positively impact their welfare,