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President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja appealed to Nigerians to desist from actions and comments that could jeopardise the unity and progress of the nation.
He said this while launching the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day (AFRD) Emblem and Appeal Fund at the State House, Abuja, stressing that this year’s occasion reminds Nigerians of the need to guard jealously the unity of the nation which was won at great cost.
The president, who stressed that “Nigeria’s strength lies in her diversity”, honoured the memory of the nation’s fallen heroes and veterans, recounting their sacrifices during the First and Second World Wars, the Nigerian Civil War and peace support operations around the world.
He also paid tribute to men and women currently engaged in internal security operations, particularly the ongoing fight against insurgency, terrorism and armed banditry in some parts of the country, praising them for remaining steadfast in the difficult task of restoring peace and security despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“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.
On security operations in the North West and North Central zones in the country, President Buhari expressed delight at the return of normalcy in some of the areas that previously witnessed security challenges.
“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.
Buhari also pledged that under his watch the 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 also used the occasion to reassure Nigerians of his administration’s commitment to creating an environment in which all citizens and foreigners are guaranteed freedom and returns on investments.
He, therefore, urged business enterprises to render discounts and rebates to men and women in uniform as a symbol of appreciation for their sacrifices, saying, “This kind gesture will make life easier for them and deepen their patriotism”.
On support for families of members of the Armed Forces who died in active service, President Buhari acknowledged that the unfortunate cost of the fight against insurgency and other internal security challenges was the unavoidable loss of lives of some gallant compatriots.
“The reality is that the spouses and dependents of these bread-winners in most cases experience trauma and deprivation. However, we can be of support to them to lighten their burdens especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Speaking as the grand patron of the Nigerian Legion, the president expressed delight that the Nigerian legion has continued to be a rallying point of veterans, doing a lot in catering for the welfare of ailing members.
President Buhari later announced a donation of N10 million to the Nigerian Legion.
In his address of welcome, 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 recognise and appreciate the sacrifices of gallant compatriots in uniform.
In his remarks, 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 recognised the presence and support of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, members of the diplomatic corps and the service chiefs, said despite the challenges facing the country, “God is with Nigeria. We should sing the Nigerian song as nobody will sing it for us.”
During the emblem launch ceremony, the chairman, Nigerian Legion, decorated President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo with the 2021 AFRD emblem.
Shun Negative Tendencies, Buhari Tells Nigerian Youths
Meanwhile, as Muslims in Nigeria join others all over the world to mark
Eid-el-Maulud, President Muhammadu Buhari has urged all citizens to use the occasion to reflect on the virtues of the Holy Prophet by showing love and understanding for fellow citizens while exhibiting patience, honesty, sincerity, kindness and generosity in all their undertakings.
In a message to Muslims commemorating the birthday of Prophet Mohammed (SAW) which is being marked as public holiday, the president urged all citizens, and the youth in particular, to shun all negative tendencies as manifested in the recent hijacking of peaceful protests to loot and destroy public and private property.
He also reiterated his earlier promise to bring police officers responsible for misconduct as well as the looters to justice.
On the COVID-19 pandemic, President Buhari, while noting that the country has so far managed the problem successfully by keeping the numbers as low as possible, however, cautioned that Nigerians must not stretch their luck too far.
“Looking at the trends in other countries, we must do all we can to avert the second wave of the pandemic. We must make sure that our cases, which have gone down, do not rise again. Our economy is too fragile to bear another round of lockdown,” he said.
A statement by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in Abuja on Wednesday, quoted the president, as advising all citizens to continue to observe the COVID-19 protocols of social distancing, wearing of face masks and washing of hands.
Source: Daily Independent