Leaders canvass peace, support for families of fallen military heroes

Members of the Nigerian air force prepare to burry the coffins of five of their comrades, who died in a helicopter crash in Nigeria’s Borno State, during their funeral at Abuja military cemetery on January 8, 2019. The five crew members were killed when the helicopter crashed as Boko Haram militants ambushed a military base in northeastern Nigeria, a spokesman said on January 3. Sodiq ADELAKUN / AFP

Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and his Delta State counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, have challenged Nigerians to support families and dependants of soldiers who lost their lives defending the country.

Akeredolu made the appeal yesterday during the State Christian Service in commemoration of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Redemption Court Cathedral, Akure.

Represented by his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, the governor said that as much as victims of terrorism and insurgency were remembered, officers of the armed forces who sacrificed to defend and unite the nation should be appreciated.

“For the benefit of doubt, let me emphasise that proceeds of the ‘Emblem Appeal’ is for the Nigerian Legion, for the welfare of the ex-servicemen and dependants of the fallen heroes,” he said.

Okowa, on his part, spoke yesterday during an inter-denominational thanksgiving service at Divine Way Baptist Church, Asaba, as part of activities to mark the Remembrance Day.

According to him, a lot of soldiers gave up their lives for the sake of our country; many are still fighting and, as we remember the fallen heroes, we should talk about them, pray for them, pray for those who are still in service and extend hands of fellowship to their families.

“Don’t just pray for the fallen heroes; assist the families they left behind. We must be compassionate to them and to those around us. As government, there is still much that can be done through legislation beyond setting a day aside to mark the event. We need to care for the families of the fallen heroes,” Okowa said.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has identified the unity and peaceful co-existence of Nigerians as the best tribute the country can pay to its fallen heroes.

The vice president, who disclosed this yesterday during an inter-denominational thanksgiving service at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, to commemorate the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, said the unity and territorial integrity of the nation for which the soldiers died must not be jeopardised by reckless utterances.

He paid glowing tribute to the fallen heroes and commended the armed forces for striving hard to protect the dignity and territorial integrity of the country.

Prof. Osinbajo noted this year’s event as the most remarkable because of the number of soldiers who died recently while fighting Boko Haram.

Also, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, implored Lagosians to always work together and pray for the peace and development of Nigeria, while stating that Remembrance Day must be a constant reminder of great sacrifices that ex-service men and gallant fallen heroes made “to secure our unity”.

Speaking through two of his commissioners at different fora, the governor urged Nigerians to be tolerant and accommodating, as consequences of war “are always devastating”.

The Commissioner for Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Mr. Oluseye Oladejo, delivered his message during the inter-denominational service at the Chapel of Christ the Light yesterday, while the Special Adviser for Arts and Culture, Mrs. Aramide Giwason, spoke at a special Jumat service also in Lagos.

While praying for the safe return of those in various battlefields, Ambode besought God to give succour to injured soldiers, bless the souls of the departed and comfort the families they left behind.

Meanwhile, the military has, once again, assured that it will continue to re-strategise until Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast are completely destroyed and the nation’s territorial integrity restored.

During a thanksgiving at King of Glory Chapel, Government House, Yenagoa, to remember the fallen heroes, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) the Mobility Command, Yenagoa, Air Vice Marshal Napoleon Bali, said the days of the terrorists were numbered.

According to him, the armed forces encounter difficulties in the counter-terrorism war because the enemies are not defined.

Notwithstanding, he assured that the “armed forces are ready to rout them wherever they are.”

The thanksgiving service was attended by the deputy governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah; former military governor of old Rivers State, King Diette Spiff, among others.

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