By Sumaila Ogbaje
Abuja, Jan. 9, 2022
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Sunday, called on Nigerians to be agents of peace and justice to complement efforts of the Nigerian Armed Forces in keeping Nigeria safe, united.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, made the call at the Inter-denominational Church Service to mark the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration on Sunday in Abuja.
He said the patriotic commitment of the gallant men and women of the armed forces was woven into the fabric of the common destiny of a country populated by people of diverse faith and ethnicity.
The vice president said the diversity was reflected within the military where people from various ethnic and religious background, were united by their nationality with that desire to serve their country.
According to him, it is for this reason that the armed forces is a symbol of the national spirit of resilience, unity and strength in diversity.
He noted that the durability of Nigeria’s unity from the civil war to the current struggle against terrorists and insurgents, had been made possible in large part by the dedication to duty of the men and women of the armed forces, often at great cost to themselves.
“The only way to truly repay those that pay the supreme sacrifice or price in service of the rest of us, is to commit ourselves to living for the ends for which they have given their lives.
“It is for the rest of us to live in accordance with our highest values as a people and ensure that we all become agents of peace and justice.
“Long before wars break out, violence manifests itself as hatred, prejudice, injustice and bigotry.
“All of us have a duty to take a stand and challenge these evils wherever they rear their heads, to prevent them from becoming rooted and breed conflicts.
“This is how we will ensure that the labours of our heroes will never be in vain,” Osinbajo said.
The vice president said all citizens had a part to play in support of the military men and women at the frontline of struggle for the soul of the nation, to contend for the triumph of civilised values over the forces of anarchy.
He said it was not just fighting to preserve Nigeria of today with all its imperfections, but to leave a better country behind for the coming generations.
According to him, it is the struggle to realise the words of our national anthem and make Nigeria a land where peace and justice shall reign.
He reiterated the commitment of the government to ensuring that the families of the fallen heroes and veterans were adequately catered for.
According to him, the welfare and benefits of members of the armed forces and their families, will remain a priority.
Also speaking, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, said the armed forces would continue to give its best in addressing the prevailing security challenges confronting the country.
Irabor said the military had achieved a lot in addressing those challenges, adding that the armed forces would redouble efforts that brought about the current successes against insecurity.
He said the military would ensure that there would be no need for anyone to worry in any part of the country, saying that the year 2022 held better things for the country.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, called on well meaning Nigerians to rise up to support the families and widows of the fallen heroes.
Tallen said that the government had been doing its best and would continue to do more, adding however, that government alone could not completely address the needs of the affected citizens.
“The least we can do is to support them because their husbands laid down their lives for us and the cry of a widow is to pray to God.
“I pray that every Nigerian would resolve to support the widows of our fallen heroes and if we do it, we will breed healthy families and healthy children,” she said.
In his sermon, Bishop Isaac Olubowale, Bishop of Ekiti Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, emphasised that Nigeria must return to God for solution to it’s current challenges.
Speaking on the National Anthem, Olubowale said the nation was founded on God with the core elements of the anthem anchored on God.
A former Secretary of the Nigerian Legion, retired Capt. John Adole, commended President Muhammadu Buhari, for his commitment to the welfare and well-being of the members of the legion and the armed forces.
Adole said the entitlements of the retired personnel were being paid regularly under the present government, adding that their welfare however, needed improvement considering the current economic situation.
According to him, the pension is no longer taking them home because the cost of living has gone high and inflations is at its peak.
“Families of our fallen colleagues need improvement in their entitlements like scholarship for children and not leaving their families to suffer unnecessarily before their benefits are paid.
A lot needs to be done to encourage our serving colleagues who are currently fighting, to see reasons to continue to lay down their lives for the good of the country,” Adole said.