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Buhari inaugurates emblem fund with N10m

 President Buhari launches the 2022 National Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem and presides over the Federal Executive Council Meeting at the Statehouse, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari says N134.7bn has been approved for the payment of Security Debarment Allowance, SDA, to all veterans.

The President also announced the donation of N10m to the Nigerian Legion, at the launch of the 2023 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem and Appeal Fund.

At  the occasion, which preceded the meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, the President pledged the Federal Government’s commitment to the welfare of veterans by ensuring prompt payment of their pension and other entitlements, which had been demonstrated by his approval of the payment of SDA to veterans.

‘‘However, in order to capture all veterans hitherto excluded from the payment of the SDA, I have approved a review of the effective date of the Manual of Financial Administration for the Armed Forces of Nigeria (MAFA) 2017.

‘‘Accordingly, I have also approved the sum of One Hundred and Thirty-Four Billion, Seven Hundred and Forty-Nine Million, Nine Hundred and Fifty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Forty-Three Naira, Sixty-Nine Kobo (N134,749,953,243.69) only for that purpose,’’ he said.

President Buhari also expressed delight that the Defence Health Maintenance Limited was living up to expectation in providing healthcare services and promised to continue to prioritize the provision of quality healthcare services to veterans and citizens at large.

The President commended the efforts of the Nigerian Armed Forces in confronting banditry, kidnappings, molestation, and killing of innocent citizens head-on.

He assured Nigerians that his government would continue to reposition and strengthen security agencies to enable them surmount the security challenges in the country.

President Buhari reiterated that he would hand over a country that would be free from insecurity to the next generation of leaders.

The President said the choice of 15th January as the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration was symbolic because it marked the end of the Nigerian Civil War.

He implored citizens to refrain from detrimental actions and statements that threaten national unity and integration but rather engage in positive actions that unite the country.

On the 2023 emblem, the President explained that it would remain a symbol of remembrance and a beacon of hope for a peaceful future with the unspoken message to the fallen heroes that their sacrifice was noble for the greater good of Nigeria.

VP Osinbajo at the launch of the 2022 National Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem

‘‘It is also our humble way of appreciating the veterans and the families of their fallen colleagues,” the President said, calling on all Nigerians and non-Nigerians residing in the country, irrespective of their political affiliation or religious beliefs, to adorn the emblem with pride and identify with those who laid down their lives for the peace and security of the nation.

President Buhari also encouraged Nigerians to donate generously in support of the veterans and dependants of the fallen heroes.

Senate President Ahmed Lawan, who also promised financial donation, on behalf of the National Assembly to the Nigerian Legion, commended the President for giving maximum support to the Nigerian Armed Forces.

‘‘For us at the National Assembly, there is nothing that we will approve for the Armed Forces and other security agencies that will be too much. We believe that we must secure this country before we take our exit from the government and Mr President we are with you on this journey,’’ he said.

The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, pledged that the Ministry would continue to ensure the prompt payment of the entitlements and death benefits of the deceased servicemen.

He said the scholarship programme for the children of the deceased up to tertiary level was being implemented.

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, on behalf of the Armed Forces; the Inspector-General of Police, Alkali Baba, on behalf of the intelligence community;  and the Central Bank Governor,  Godwin Emefiele, on behalf of the Bankers’ Committee; pledged donations to the Nigerian legion at the Emblem Appeal Launch.

Reporting by Abdullah Bello; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu