Ex-Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), has called for national unity in the country noting that “in our collective and individual resolves, we should keep Nigeria’s unity, irrespective of sectional, religious and cultural leanings.
Speaking on the occasion of the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebrations, Babangida expressed joy that this years’ celebration is coming at a time that our armed forces, military men and women are gaining more ground in the fight against insurgency and conflicts ridden areas of Nigeria.
In a statement by his media office, IBB said, “As we celebrate the Armed forces remembrance day, we should take a stock of our uniqueness and sacrifices by our men and women of the armed forces especially the fallen heroes that paid the supreme sacrifices of maintaining peace not only in our country but beyond the shores of Nigeria.
Commending the recent effort of our gallant military for breaking the nerve center of Boko Haram terrorists, Babangida posited that recent events across the country on general insecurity and economic sabotage are a source of concern to every well-meaning Nigerian.
He Said, “It is paramount for all political leaders, elder statesmen, traditional rulers and the general society to galvanize the ruptured Nigerian nation.
“We have to take bold steps to tackle the great challenges of insecurity and distrust to commensurate the sacrifices made by our armed security personnel.”
Banangida also urged governments at all levels as well as traditional, religious and opinion leaders to think “Nigeria’s unity first; guard their utterances and formulate a common ground of maintaining peace by putting to an end armed conflicts, kidnappings, armed banditry among other security challenges.
While felicitating with the armed forces on the remembrance celebrations, the former Military President wished all Nigerians a Happy and prosperous New year 2017 and prayed for continued peace, unity and brotherhood amongst Nigerians.
Meanwhile, Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has expressed displeasure over the way and manner soldiers who fought for the peace, unity and progress of the country are neglected and pleaded for a special attention and support for them.
He made the passionate plea during the launching of the 2017 official launch/ sale of Poppy to mark the Armed Forces Remembrance Appeal Week, held at Government House Minna.
The governor, who was showed emotions about the nature of neglect of our fallen heroes and their dependents, said the trend must stop, adding that government must institute measures to take care of the fallen soldiers.
He said, “We should take care of our soldiers both the ones in service and retired. There shouldn’t be any reason why the officers have to beg for their entitlement. There is no reason why after serving the country for 35 years, risking one’s lives and when retired, one’s rightful entitlement becomes an issue.
“Worst hit are the families of our fallen heroes. We should not continue to allow them suffer double jeopardy. They lost their loved one, bread winner and father to the service of their father land, we must not allow the widows and children of these fallen heroes to suffer any further. We all should rally round and support them”.
Announcing a cash donation of N6million (Six Million naira), on behalf of the state government and a personal donation of N250, 000. (Two hundred and fifty thousand naira), the Governor directed all local government councils in the state to support the legionnaires.
Earlier, the State Chairman of the Nigeria Legion, Warrant Officer Abubakar Musa Kutigi stated that the annual event is to pay tribute to all the heroes who paid the ultimate price of death in various wars, including the fight against insurgents, for the continuous unity and stability of our fatherland.
He appealed to individuals, philanthropists as well as corporate and religious organizations to assist the legionnaires and their dependents so that the sweat of our heroes past may never be in vain.
Warrant Officer Abubakar Musa disclosed that Legion in the state has empowered thirty widows and orphans and supplied them with sewing, grinding machines and other trade items in other to alleviate their suffering.
He said plans have been concluded to send more orphans to various workshops for training and skills acquisition in other to make them self-reliant and self-employed.
Over 13.9 Million was realized at the launch. January 15 of every year is set aside to remember and celebrate the dead and living heroes as well as those who suffer deprivations as a result of wars.