President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered Service Chiefs to take urgent steps to settle the entitlements of citizens affected by insurgency across the country as well as the welfare packages designed for their dependents.
The president stated this when he inaugurated the 2020 Emblem Appeal Launch for the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
According to him, it is the responsibility of government to ensure that the families of fallen heroes do not suffer the loss of their loved ones and at the same time be deprived of their due benefits.
President Buhari said the Federal Government would continue to do all within its powers to look after the bereaved families.
He said: `The unfortunate cost of the war against insurgency and other Internal Security Operations, is the loss of lives of some of our officers and men in the Armed Forces.
“These very sad occurrences create deep wounds to loved ones. It is, therefore, our duty to ensure that the loss of these bread winners does not relegate the spouses and dependents to a life of want and deprivation.
“Government will do all in its powers to look after the bereaved.’’
The President explained that the Federal Government established the Nigerian Legion so as to ensure that the veterans continue to share the comradeship that existed while in Service and adequately cater for their welfare at exit.
He, therefore, noted with delight that the Legion was carrying out initiatives in transportation, agriculture, housing and other ventures in partnership with the private sector.
“I am happy to note that the Legion has continued to be a rallying point of veterans and has done its part in catering for the welfare of their ailing members.
“I enjoin the leadership of the Legion to continue in this spirit. I also urge Nigerians to accord them the needed support, friendship and patronage.
“As the Grand Patron of the Nigerian Legion, I wish to pledge my continued support and that of the Federal Government to the organisation.
“My appreciation goes to the State Governors who are patrons in their respective States for the support they are providing to the Legion,’’ he said.
Earlier, the Minister of Defence, retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi had appealed for support from Nigerians for families of those left behind by the country’s fallen heroes.
He said: “The launch of the emblem, which is a symbol of the 2020-Armed Forces and Remembrance Day, is one of the ways of supporting the families of the dead, caring for the wounded and the veterans that are still alive.
“In the course of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria against internal aggression, officers and men of the Armed Forces face daunting challenges; many laid down their lives while others survive with varying degrees of incapacitation.
“That notwithstanding, they have continued to dedicate themselves to the onerous and patriotic duty of protecting their fatherland.
” We therefore owe them as a nation and people. We also owe their families care and support at all times.’’
He, therefore, called on all Nigerians to donate generously to the worthy course to enable the nation fulfill her responsibility to the Nigerian Legion and families of fallen heroes.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo were decorated with the emblem by the National Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, retired Brig.-Gen. Jones Akpa.
NAN reports that the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, who was at the event, was also decorated with the emblem by the Secretary of the legion.
Other personalities at the occasion included Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, cabinet Ministers and security chiefs.(NAN)