President Buhari launches Armed Forces emblem and appeal fund

Timothy Choji, Abuja

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Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has launched the 2020-Armed Forces and Remembrance Day Celebration Emblem with a donation of N10 million on behalf of the Nigerian government.

The event took place on Wednesday, at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Speaking at the launch, which preceded the weekly cabinet meeting, President Buhari appealed to Nigerians to always support the families of fallen heroes as well as war veterans.

“I heartily welcome you all to the formal launch of the 2020-Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration Emblem and Appeal Fund. Today, we are once again gathered to acknowledge and commend the sacrifices of our fallen heroes and veterans of First and Second World Wars, Nigerian Civil War and Peace Support Operations around the world,” he said.

The Nigerian said the unity of the nation must be maintained and well protected, in appreciation of the services rendered by past and present leaders of the country and members of the Armed Forces.

He said: “We must not forget those currently engaged in Internal Security Operations, particularly the on-going war against insurgency in some parts of the country.  It is indeed befitting to honour the memory of the gallant officers and men who paid the supreme sacrifice to keep the country united.  For those who survived with varying degrees of incapacitation, they require our attention and care and we will continue to provide and cater for them.

 The Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration was intentionally fixed for 15th of January, annually, to commemorate the end of our civil war.  It reminds us of the need to guard jealously the unity of our country which was won at a great cost.

 This day calls to mind the negative impact of strife and conflicts and demands that as responsible citizens, we must at all times avoid actions that emphasize our differences.  There is no doubt that the strength of Nigeria lies in her diversity. It behoves us therefore, to engage in activities and endeavours that feed our diversity as a source of strength not weakness.

 The nation is appreciative of the gallantry and sacrifices of Officers and Men of our Armed Forces in the campaign against insurgency and other Internal Security Operations.  This has led to the return of normalcy in affected parts of the nation.  The boko haram terrorists have been substantially defeated and degraded to the extent that they are only daring soft targets.

However, all hands must be on deck to check the attacks on soft targets, mostly innocent Nigerians.  The peace and security of Nigeria is non-negotiable and the security agencies must continue to do their work diligently. As a government, we will continue to provide necessary logistical support to ensure that our Armed Forces operate with the best modern warfare equipment, while at the same time adequately addressing the issues of their welfare.”

President Buhari said Nigerians displaced by insurgency or natural disasters would be well catered for in line with government’s responsibility of making life better for its citizens.

“Government will remain steadfast in developing our alliances with neighbours and friends in the international community for the total defeat of the insurgents. The task of resettling and rehabilitating our citizens as well as the reconstruction of territories affected by the war will continue to be one of the priorities of this Administration.

“We shall not rest until all our displaced persons are safely resettled into their communities without fear of further attacks.  It is for this reason that the North East Development Commission and Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development were established. The Executive Arm of Government hereby commends the National Assembly for the passage of the Bill establishing the Commission,” he said.

Commendable Service

The Nigerian leader thanked the country’s Armed Forces for securing the country and also the society for appreciating the services rendered by the Armed Forces.

“Government is also well aware that an insecure environment stifles business and undermines growth and prosperity. For this reason, we will like to commend and reinforce our gratitude to our men and women in the Armed Forces who have risen to the challenge of securing our nation and providing enabling environment for national progress.

 “It is on this note that we acknowledge and commend the rising trend, where business concerns offer discounted services to our men and women in the Armed Forces in appreciation of their selfless sacrifices to the fatherland. We commend these laudable initiatives and urge more of our business concerns to do likewise. Such gestures would no doubt encourage them in defence of our country and its people,” he said.

While pledging support for the families of those left behind by fallen heroes, 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.

“Service leaders must take urgent steps to settle the entitlements of these affected citizens as well as the welfare packages designed for their dependents. It is the responsibility of government to ensure that the families of our fallen heroes do not suffer the loss of their loved ones and at the same time be deprived of their due benefits.

“To ensure that our veterans continue to share the comradeship that existed while in Service and adequately cater for their welfare at exit, the Federal Government established the Nigerian Legion.  It is delightful to note that the Legion is carrying out initiatives in transportation, agriculture, housing and other ventures in partnership with the private sector.”

Financial Support

President Buhari called on all Nigerians and others resident in Nigeria to procure and wear the emblems with pride to identify with those who laid down their lives for peace and security of our fatherland.

Speaking earlier, Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (Rtd) appealled for support form Nigerians for families of those left behind by the country’s fallen heroes.

“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 t 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. I therefore call on all Nigerians to donate generously to the worthy course to enable the nation fulfil her responsibility to the Nigerian Legion and families of fallen heroes,” he said.

Also present at the event were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, members of the Federal Executive Council, Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, Service Chiefs and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.

Highpoint of the event was the decoration of President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo with the emblem, which was done by the Chairman of the Nigeria Legion, Brigadier General Adakole Akpa (Rtd).