President Mohammadu Buhari has announced the donation of N10 million to the cause of recognizing the feats achieved by the Nigerian Armed Forces veterans.
This is also as the president added further that Nigerians and visitors to the country will in future be compelled to wear the remembrance emblem as pass for entry into all government establishments, as obtained in other climes.
Launching the 2016 Armed Forces Remembrance Day and Emble, Monday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, President Buhari said the practice was necessary to recognize the feats recorded by the nation’s living and fallen heroes in keeping the country together since independence.
The ceremony was witnessed by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; former Head of the Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed among a host of ministers.
Explaining that the donation and the compulsory emblem adorning by Nigerians and visitors alike, was in recognition of the efforts of the veterans, President Buhari said they had salvaged the nation from disintegration on many occasions, and that the continued unity of the country today was consequent upon their efforts.
“Today’s occasion reminds us of the need to appreciate the noble contributions of our fallen heroes who paid the supreme sacrifice to maintain national and international peace and security.
“Our nation has recently celebrated 55 years of political independence and continues to remain as one indivisible entity despite several grievous challenges. Since independence, Nigeria has witnessed a lot of internal strife, survived a civil war and has remained united,” President Buhari said.
Continuing, Buhari said: “Let me salute and appreciate the courage and sacrifices of men and women of our Armed Forces in grappling with the wave of terrorism, oil theft, and piracy in some parts of our country.
“They have displayed unalloyed loyalty and commitment to Nigeria. In their arduous task to keep Nigeria safe and united, some of these gallant officers and men lost their lives. To them we pay special tribute and pray for the repose of their souls.
“As a responsible organization, the legion has introduced the Nigerian Legion Humanitarian Day as part of activities marking the annual Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration.
“This is an avenue through which legionnaires reach out to the society by carrying out some social works, humanitarian activities as well as empowering widows and dependants of our fallen heroes.’’
Buhari also urged all well-meaning Nigerians and corporate organisations to buy and wear the emblem with pride throughout the period of the celebration.
“I therefore call on well-meaning Nigerians and corporate organisations to lend their support to this worthy initiative. The emblem launch today is meant to appeal to all Nigerians to generously support of the Nigerian Legion.
“One of the ways we can appreciate the sacrifices of our fallen heroes and veterans is by making generous donations. Further to this, after the emblem launch, I encourage all Nigerians to procure and wear the emblem with pride throughout the remembrance period.
“This would show that we appreciate the sacrifices of our fallen heroes and veterans and also assure those still serving that their services to the fatherland will never be forgotten.
“I urge and encourage all our distinguished guests to purchase copies of the emblem for their wives, husbands, children, relatives, and friends.’’
He also directed the Minister of Defence, Brigadier-General Muhammad Dan-Ali (rtd), to come up with programmes that would enhance the welfare of the veterans in appreciation of their service to the nation.
According to him, the Federal Government will continue to show commitment to addressing the challenges facing the veterans.
“We have recently implemented an increment in their pensions,” he said.
On his part, Gen. Dan-Ali (rtd), said the emblem launch was unique because it was happening at a time the country was fighting insurgency.
“The emblem launching for the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration 2016 is a unique one because it is coming at a time when the nation is committing its soft and hard power in the current fight against insurgency
“As the country continues to fight insurgents, we remember and appreciate our fallen heroes and veterans to their invaluable contributions to global, national peace and security.’’
He said that the theme for this year’s celebration, “Motivating the Nigerian Armed Forces for Effective Service Delivery’’, was in line with the important role of the veterans in maintaining the corporate existence of Nigeria and other countries of the world.
Dan-Ali called on the President to make it mandatory for the emblem to be worn by all staff and visitors seeking to enter government establishments during the period of the celebration.
The National Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Col. Micah Gayya (rtd), reassured that the legion will continue to ensure judicious use of all the funds realised from the Remembrance Day celebrations.
He disclosed that part of the funds will be used to improve the quality of life of members of the legion in the internally displaced persons’ camps across the country.
President Buhari was later decorated with the redesigned emblem, as the Grand Patron of the Nigerian Legion before the commencement of the remembrance ceremony for the fallen heroes.