Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has said the state government would never forget the sacrifices made by the Nigerian Armed Forces to keep Nigeria together.
Wike stated this yesterday at an interdenominational church service in commemoration of the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Chaplaincy, Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Rumuibekwe, Port Harcourt.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, said the state government had always intentionally and vigorously supported “our security agencies in pursuant of their duties, for the security and peace of the state.
He stated that last week the sum of N30 million was released to the families of three policemen who lost their lives while on duty.
The governor said, “We cannot forget the sacrifices made by our men and women and so we will continue to support our veterans and the families of those who fought for the survival, unity and freedom of this nation.
“We will continue to show this love, that is why this service was held to reassure them that the memories of their loved ones will not go away.
“We will never stop supporting our armed forces and security agencies so that they will continue to work efficiently to ensure peace in all the parts of Rivers State. In the past few years, there has been a great improvement in the security situation in Rivers State.
“We want to go forward and better than it is, because it is only when there is peace that development can continue, it is when there is peace that we can have investors and provide jobs for our teaming youths,” he said.
In his sermon, the officiating priest, Rev. Msgr Pius Kii, said remembrance was a dynamic movement in two dimensions, and a reminder to the people about what God had done in order to generate an attitude of gratitude.
Kii said: “We must remember, the sacrifices and sufferings of our great men and women in the armed forces, those who had died in war, as well as the veterans who fought alongside our fallen heroes, stressing that we owe them a debt of gratitude because they sacrificed their lives for the freedom we enjoy today.”
Also, his Kwara State counterpart, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has acknowledged the sacrifices of the Nigerian Armed Forces in maintaining peace and security as well as stabilising the country.
AbdulRazaq spoke at the interdenominational thanksgiving service to commemorate the Armed Forces Remembrance Day and Emblem Appeal Week at All Saint African Church, Gaa-Akanbi, Ilorin, the state capital Represented by his deputy, Mr Kayode Alabi, the governor said security forces have demonstrated “unparallelled patriotism, courage, loyalty and commitment as they face the challenges involved in defending Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
“Permit me to say that this administration also acknowledges and commends the unrelenting efforts of the Nigeria Legion of Ex-servicemen at caring and providing for its members consistently in mobilising funds annually to aid their incapacitated colleagues and families.
“We assure you of the state government’s support to your noble cause, as we are aware that with necessary encouragement, the legion can always be relied upon to complement the efforts of our security agencies in providing necessary security that is needed for conducive environment for rapid development in our state,” AbdulRazaq stated.
Delivering a sermon titled: “Fighting The Good Fight”, Rt. Revd. Ade Fagbayi, said all hands must be on deck in achieving an enviable country in the comity of nations and urged collaboration and better synergy among politicians, military and the judiciary.
The vice chairman of CAN in the state, Bishop Sunday Adewole, said the day brings to the fore the efforts and sacrifices of officers, some of whom paid the ultimate price in the course of serving Nigeria.
Special prayers were offered for Nigeria, the Church of God, the Armed Forces and families of the fallen heroes. Similarly, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on Nigerians to be agents of peace and justice in support of the efforts of the armed forces to keep the country united Osinbajo, who was represented by the secretary to the government of the federation Boss Mustapha, made the appeal at the interdenominational church service to mark the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration in Abuja.
He said the patriotic commitment of the gallant men and women of the armed forces was woven into the fabric of the common destiny of a nation populated by people of diverse faiths and ethnicity.
He said the diversity was reflected within the military where people from various ethnic and religious backgrounds were united by their nationality with that desire to serve their country.
He said it was for this reason that the armed forces as a symbol of the national spirit of resilience, unity and strength in diversity.
The vice president said the durability of Nigeria’s unity from the civil war to the current struggle against terrorists and insurgents, had been made possible in large part by the dedication to duty of the men and women of the armed forces often at great cost to themselves.
According to Osinbajo, the question of whether and it is still being answered eloquently by the sacrificial courage of the men and women that serve in our armed forces but the real question is whether we as a people are worthy of their sacrifices.
“The only way to truly repay those that pay the supreme sacrifice or price in service of the rest of us is to commit ourselves to living for the ends for which they have given their lives.
“It is for the rest of us to live in accordance with our highest values as a people and ensure that we all become agents of peace and justice.
“Long before wars break out violence manifests itself as hatred, prejudice, injustice and bigotry.
“All of us have a duty to take a stand and challenge these evils wherever they are to prevent them from taking root and breeding conflict.
“This is how we will ensure that the labour of our heroes will never be in vain,” he said.
The vice president said all citizens had a part to play in support of the military men and women at the frontline of the struggle for the soul of the nation to contend for the triumph of civilised values over the forces of anarchy.
He said it was not just fighting to preserve the Nigeria of today with all its imperfections but to leave a better country behind for our children and children’s children.
The vice president said it is the struggle to realise the words of our national anthem and make Nigeria a land where peace and justice shall reign.
He reiterated the commitment of the government to ensuring that the families of the fallen heroes and veterans are adequately catered for, saying that welfare benefits and entitlement of members of armed forces and their families would remain a priority.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, said the armed forces will continue to do its best in addressing the prevailing security challenge confronting the nation.
Irabor said the military had achieved a milestone in addressing the challenges, adding that the armed forces would escalate the actions that brought about the current successes against insecurity.
He said the military would ensure that there would be no need for anyone to worry in any part of the country, saying that the year 2022 held better good for the country.
The minister of women affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, called on well-meaning Nigerians to rise up to support the families and widows of the fallen heroes.
Tallen said that the government had been doing its best and would continue to do more, adding that the government alone could not completely address the needs of the affected citizens.
“The least we can do is to support them because their husbands laid down their lives for us and the cry of a widow is to pray to God.
“I pray that every Nigerian would resolve to support the widows of our fallen heroes and if we do it, we will breed healthy families and healthy children,” she said.
In his sermon, Bishop Isaac Olubowale, Bishop of Ekiti Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, emphasised that Nigeria as a nation must return to God for solution to its current challenges.
On the National Anthem, Olubowale said the nation was founded on God with the core elements of the anthem anchored on God.
A board member and former secretary, Nigerian Legion, Capt. John Adole (rtd), commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to the welfare of the members of the legion and the armed forces.
Adole said the entitlements of the retired personnel were being paid regularly under the present administration, adding that their welfare however needed improvement considering the current economic situation.
“Families of our fallen colleagues need improvement in their entitlement like scholarships for their children,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya has felicitated with officers, soldiers and families on the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration (AFRDC) 2022.
In a statement issued by the director Army Public Relations Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, the COAS conveyed his felicitation in a goodwill message on Friday, 7th January, 2022 at the Army Headquarters, Abuja.
Gen. Yahaya noted that the Celebration, is organised annually in recognition of fallen heroes; gallant men and women, who paid the supreme price in the defence of peace, unity and prosperity of our dear nation, Nigeria and the world at large.
He reiterated that many of the fallen heroes laid down their lives during the First and Second World Wars, Nigerian Civil War, Peace Support Operations across the globe and various internal security operations, including ongoing fight against insurgency, terrorism, banditry and secessionist, amongst other threats to national security.
He said their sacrifices will never be forgotten and prayed for the repose of their souls.
The AFRDC, he said, also presents an opportunity to honour veterans who are still alive.
He said many of the veterans regrettably sustained varying degrees of injuries in the course of their service to the nation and humanity, adding that care for the injured and maimed personnel will remain a cardinal focus under his command.
While appreciating troops for their sacrifices in achieving success across all spectrum of operations conducted by the Nigerian Army (NA), he urged them to sustain and consolidate on the successes recorded so far.
The COAS called on officers and soldiers to be loyal to constituted authority and ensure greater collaboration and synergy with sister services in the pursuit of peace and security in Nigeria.
He used the medium to reaffirm the unalloyed loyalty of the Nigerian Army under his watch to the president, commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.