As part of activities to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Arm Forces Remembrance Day, Abuja Preparatory School has honoured two deserving soldiers with cash donations to their welfare.
In his address, the headmaster of the school, Akif Naqvi, explained that the remembrance day, which is globally performed on 11th November, every year to mark the end of World War 1, bears great importance to all and the school is committed to recognising the sacrifices made by Nigerian and British soldiers.
He explained that students, parents and staff contributed towards the “Poppy Appeal”, which is viewed as a symbol of peace to raise N200, 000. He added that donations would be given to Staff Sergeant (Rtd) Usman and Corporal Peter who lost his legs on duty, while adding that some of this amount would be donated to the Royal British Legion in the UK.
“For me, the reason behind supporting the veterans, is primarily because as an international school, it is important that our students know the sacrifices made by the British and Nigerian military to bring peace to the world. It also has deep personal meaning to me, as my grandfather served in the British Indian Army in Burma and my brother in law died recently in Afghanistan,” he said.
Speaking at the ceremony, Phil Wilkinson, Wing Commander, British Royal Air force, described the gesture as a worthy cause noting that the sacrifices of soldiers in the first and second world wars can not be forgotten as their efforts contributed to the peace in the world today.
A parent, Mr Dele Thomas, pointed out that the ceremony coming to Nigeria was a welcome idea, noting that many Nigerians fought in the first and Second World War and it is an opportunity to recognise our fallen heroes. He also revealed that his great grand uncle, Fl Lt Adeniyi Thomas (1914-1945) was the first black officer commissioned in the Royal Air Force adding that it was worthy of note that he died in active service.
The beneficiaries, who spoke with LEADERSHIP Sunday, expressed their gratitude to the school for donating to welfare of soldiers, describing the act as a noble gesture.
A beneficiary, Corporal Monday Peter, who served in the 4th Demonstration Battalion and lost his legs in the heat of the fight against Boko haram, expressed his gratitude to the school; applauding the rare gesture. He added that he was happy for the recognition.
Also speaking, veteran soldier, Salihu Usman, who served in the Nigerian Army between 1967 and 1968 noted that the welfare of soldiers was very important.
He however lamented that retirees were often neglected with unpaid entitlement; as a result, most of them are forced to live in harsh conditions.
‘‘I urge more private organisations and the government to effort in assisting the security forces in whatever way they can,’’ he said.
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