Governor of Rivers State Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has praised President Muhammadu Buhari for his perseverance in battling Boko Haram terrorists and bandits who have been terrorising and wrecking portions of the nation.
After the wreath-laying ceremony for the 2023 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration at the Isaac Boro Park, Wike made known his praise of the President yesterday at the Government House in Port Harcourt.
The governor pointed out that the military forces were required to put an end to the revolt that followed the civil war, which started a few years after independence and concluded after three bloody years of internal conflict.
He claimed that since then, there hasn’t been a year where military personnel haven’t been sent on at least one bloody combat assignment.
According to Wike, the military has been at war with Boko Haram and other armed rebels in the country’s North West and North East for more than ten years, as well as with “unknown shooters” in the South-East.
The governor said, “I commend our President, General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for his sustained efforts at defeating the Boko Haram insurgents and bandits terrorizing and destroying our communities in parts of our country. The restoration of peace to our troubled geo-political regions and the conduct of free and fair general elections are the best legacies you can live for our country.”
“As leaders, our goal must be one Nigeria, one destiny, and the challenges of building a more fair, inclusive and just society are not beyond us. Therefore, I will not relent in my prayers to God to enable Mr President and other leaders of our country to succeed in our mission and commitments to our country.”
He argued that a grateful nation honors the remarkable bravery and courage displayed by its armed forces while serving, as well as the sacrifices made by their families for the betterment of society.
In order to gain tactical victories over the enemies of the nation and international peace, many members of the armed forces allegedly paid the ultimate price or sustained injuries while participating in these numerous engagements.
The governor said, “We respect them for the dangerous professional path they willingly chose and love them as our children, relations, friends and members of our communities in the nation’s service.
“But they loved us more and even more significantly as fellow Nigerians by risking their lives, health, family and future on the battlefields to defend and protect us from harm’s way in return for almost nothing.
“We owe them a great deal as a nation. We owe them as States. We owe them as a people. Collectively, we owe them a debt we cannot repay.
“Although the much we can do on this day is to extoll their virtues, commemorate their sacrifice and honour their heroic exploits so that they would never be forgotten for putting their lives on the line for us and others to live.”
He insisted that the nation must look beyond the formalities, speeches, and parades of the present to take into account the families, including the defenseless women and children, who are directly affected and put through unspeakable hardship as a result of their breadwinner’s death or incapacitation on the battlefield.
This, according to Wike, calls for prioritizing the welfare and well-being of the armed forces while they are in service and after they leave, as well as the welfare of their families, with a concrete social security package that includes the prompt payment of terminal benefits and some type of financial security for widows and their minor children.
The governor advocated for providing the greatest medical treatment and attention possible from public funds to persons dealing with a variety of health issues, including as post-traumatic stress disorders.
He said: “As a state government, we have, over the years, provided financial support to our veterans through the State Office of the Nigerian Legion. We have since redeemed the N50, 000,000.00 pledge we made during the remembrance emblem appeal fund launch in December 2022.
Wike said: “Today, I wish to donate the sum of N100, 000,000.00 (one hundred million naira) on behalf of the State government for the economic empowerment of the veteran servicemen from Rivers State.”
The governor appealed to well-meaning public and private individuals and organizations to contribute to improving the social and economic well-being of the legionnaires and the wives and children of the fallen ex-servicemen.
Rivers State chairman of Nigerian Legion, ACG Justice O. Chichi, commended Wike for the extraordinary kindness, which the Rivers State government has always shown towards the welfare and support of veterans and the families of fallen heroes.
He said: “My colleagues, widows and dependents of our fallen heroes, particularly the beneficiaries of your scholarship, have asked me to raise my voice and tell you a very big thank you, for the leader in you. We will forever be grateful to Your Excellency.”