President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to desist from actions that are capable of threatening the oneness of the nation, saying the unity of Nigeria was won at a great cost.
Buhari stated this in Abuja on Wednesday during the launching of the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day (AFRD) Emblem and Appeal Fund.
He said the 2020 occasion should remind Nigerians of the need to guard jealously the unity of the nation which was won at a great cost.
According to a statement by the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, President Buhari who honoured the memory of the nation’s fallen heroes and veterans stressed that ‘‘Nigeria’s strength lies in her diversity.’’
He also recounted the sacrifices made by the fallen heroes during the First and Second World Wars, the Nigerian Civil War as well as Peace Support Operations around the world.
While also paying tribute to the men and women currently engaged in internal security operations, especially in the ongoing fight against insurgency, terrorism and armed banditry in some parts of the country, the President said their efforts are highly appreciated.
”We honour the memory of our gallant officers and men who have paid the supreme sacrifice in order to keep the country united as one entity.
”The nation remains grateful for the efforts and sacrifice of the Armed Forces especially in the fight against insurgency and other internal security challenges confronting Nigeria.
”The Armed Forces Remembrance Day or Veterans Day as it is known in some parts of the world is an important event observed in commemoration of the end of the Second World War.
”In Commonwealth member countries, the Remembrance Day is observed on 11th November yearly. However, for us the date was changed to 15th January annually to accommodate the commemoration of the end of the Nigerian Civil War,’’ he said.
He also expressed delight at the return of normalcy in some of the areas that previously witnessed security challenges like the North West and North Central zones of the country.
”Our dear nation has witnessed numerous security challenges since independence.
”These security threats have undermined Nigeria in the areas of trade, investment and economy, education, health as well as agriculture and frequently denied Nigerians the freedom of movement.
”I am however pleased to state that a lot has been achieved in the Internal Security operations in the North West and North Central zones where in addition to Operations LAFIYA DOLE, HADARIN DAJI, HARBIN KUNAMA, WHIRL STROKE, other operations such as ACCORD, SAHEL SANITY and KATSINA were successfully launched.
”This has led to the return of normalcy in some of the affected areas. However, all hands must be on deck to check attacks on soft targets, ” he said.
The President, who restated that his administration will continue to forge useful alliances with neighbours and friends in the international community for the total defeat of the security threats affecting the sub-region, promised to ensure timely provision of adequate resources and necessary logistics support for the Armed Forces.
President Buhari further pledged that under his watch the Nigeria Armed Forces will operate with the best modern warfare equipment, with welfare issues receiving utmost attention.
”We are quite aware that it is our responsibility to provide a conducive environment that is devoid of security threats.
”I want to re-assure Nigerians that security being one of the pillars of this administration will continue to be at the forefront until peace and security are restored in the country,’’ he said.
The president reassured Nigerians of his administration’s commitment to creating an environment in which all citizens and foreigners are guaranteed freedom and returns on investments.
While also making a donation of N10 million to the Nigerian Legion, President Buhari who is also the Grand Patron of the Nigerian Legion, expressed delighted that the Nigerian legion has continued to be a rallying point of veterans, doing a lot in catering for the welfare of ailing members
”To ensure that our veterans continue to share the comradeship that existed while in Service and that their welfare is adequately catered for, the Federal Government established the Nigerian Legion as well as fully paid all pension arrears of veterans,” he said.
He urged Nigerians and other residents in the country to procure and wear the emblems with pride in order to identify with those who laid down their lives for the peace and security of the county.
In his welcome address, the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (Rtd) called on members of the civil society, religious and political leaders, the academia as well as the media to educate and enlighten Nigerians on the need to recognize and appreciate the sacrifices of gallant compatriots in uniform.
Also responding, the Chairman Nigerian Legion, Brigadier General Adakole Jones Akpa (Rtd), thanked President Buahri for his unrelenting support to the ex-servicemen, particularly in ensuring the prompt payment of pensions.
Akpa, who also recognized the presence and support of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, members of the Diplomatic Corps and the Service Chiefs, to the Nigerian Legion, said despite the challenges facing the country.