Nigerians have been urged to celebrate their fallen heroes everyday for laying down their lives for the Nation.
The General officer commanding 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Major-General Obinna Ajunwa gave the advice during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration at the Remembrance Arcade, Tafawa Balewa square in Lagos.
The Armed Forces Remembrance Day is a day set aside in honour of the country’s fallen heroes.
Officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces were seen dressed in their ceremonial uniforms to honour those who died in the line of duty.
In a chat with Radio Nigeria on the sidelines of the event, Major-General Ajunwa said fallen heroes should be celebrated, not yearly but everyday, by individual Nigerians, the private sector and “all relevant authorities”.
He said the Ogun state government has “done a lot” for widows of fallen personnel, such as the construction of road network from the town to the barracks for “easy access and to enable them convey their agricultural produce to the market “.
Some of the widows, including Oyiola Sobowale and Oluwaseyi Iliya, said their husband’s had died while serving the nation and as such, they expected the nation to give back to them but have mostly been disappointed.
Mrs Sobowale said what she needed most was the payment of her late husband’s insurance policy and the promised sponsorship of the children of fallen heroes from age six to 22.
As for Mrs Iliya, she complained that the gratuity paid to widows of fallen heroes has usually been shared with the families of the deceased.
The widows who appealed to relevant authorities to come to their aid, said despite the fact that they live in Lagos, they have yet to benefit from the state government’s assistance to people like them.
The Deputy Commandant-General and Chairman Nigeria Legion, Lagos council, Hakeem Wolimat appealed to the private sector of the economy and the general public to join the government in empowering the widows and orphans of fallen heroes.
Senior officers of the military, paramilitaries, traditional rulers and officers wives were on hand to celebrate the fallen heroes.
The event, which ended with laying of wreaths, witnessed some of the spouses of fallen heroes weeping.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, led other dignitaries to lay wreaths while prayers were offered for the souls of the fallen heroes and for peace in the Country, before, during and after the general election.
In a chat with newsmen after the short ceremony, Dr Hamzat pledged the State government’s continued support to serving and retired members of the Armed Forces as well as the families of fallen heroes.
Special trust fund for veterans
Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has called on the National Assembly to enact a law that will establish a special trust fund to cater for the welfare of veterans and families of fallen heroes.
He made the call during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebrations in Owerri.
Governor Uzodimma suggested that the fund should be fashioned in such a way that the federal, state and local governments as well as corporate organizations would be contributing a certain amount of money to be set aside to cater to the education of the families of the legion.
According to the governor, the measure will go a long way to motivate those in service to be more dedicated to their duties.
Governor Uzodimma also commended the Armed Forces for their contributions towards containing insecurity in Imo state and pledged the support of his administration to assist them to realize their mandate.
Important occasion mean to remember
Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has described the Armed Forces Remembrance Day as an “important occasion” meant to remember the enormous contributions of the fallen heroes who died in the service of the nation.
According to him, the event is a tradition that has taken place every year to acknowledge the sacrifice made by “our fallen heroes” towards ensuring the unity and the defence of our country.
Mr Ganduje, represented by his deputy and APC Governorship Candidate, Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, stated this on Sunday shortly after the parade and wreath laying ceremony in commemoration of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day held at the Cenotaph in Kano.
“We are here to show our concern and relate with the families of the legionnaires,” He added.
Cause for reflection
The occasion of Armed Forces Remembrance Day gives cause for reflection, reminding Nigerians of the sacrifices made by security forces personnel in preserving the unity of of the country.
The Commissioner of Police in Anambra state, Echeng Echeng made the remarks when he joined other Service Commanders in the state to honor the military and other security personnel who paid the supreme price in service to the nation.
In a statement made available by the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga , the Commissioner commended the fallen heroes for their contributions in protecting lives and property.
Reporting by Mary Fatile, Omolara Omosanya, Chinazo Ilechukwu, Abdullahi Jalaluddeen and Uche Ndeke ; Editing by Fany Olumoye, Abdullahi Lamino and Tony Okerafor