President Muhammadu Buhari has commended members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) for gallantry and sacrifices in the ongoing campaign against insurgency which he said has led to the restoration of relative peace and normalcy in the affected parts of the country.
The President gave the commendation on Wednesday while launching the 2020 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration (AFRDC) emblem appeal fund at the state house, Abuja.
According to him “we will like to commend and reinforce our gratitude to our men and women in the Armed Forces who have risen to the challenges of securing our nation, providing enabling environment for national progress.” President Buhari stated that collective efforts were needed to checkmate the antics of the terrorists in attacking soft targets, revealing that the terrorist group have been substantially defeated and degraded.
The President, who stated that it was befitting to honour the memory of those gallant compatriots who paid the supreme sacrifice to keep the country united, adding that the nation will not forget the sacrifices officers and men of AFN deployed in internal security operations, particularly the on-going fight against insurgency.
The President who reinstated that “the peace and security of Nigeria is non-negotiable,” charged the AFN to remain diligent in the discharge of its constitutional responsibility of defending the nation. He pledged the federal government’s commitment towards providing necessary logistics, modern warfare equipment as well as the welfare needs of its personnel.
The President also disclosed that the current administration is committed to further deepening its alliances with neighbouring and foreign nations towards ensuring that insurgency is totally defeated. He added that the ongoing resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the communities ravaged by the activities of insurgents will be sustained.
In the words of the President, “we will not rest until all displaced persons are safely resettled into their communities without fear of further attacks.” According to him, the North East Development Commission and Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development were established to carry out the task of resettling all displaced persons to their communities and villages.
The President, who is equally a military veteran, said that the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, reminds Nigerians of the negative impact of strife and conflict, and demands that as citizens, Nigerians must embrace peace and avoid conflicts.
Speaking as the Grand Patron of the Nigerian Legion, President Buhari promised to continue to support the organization, while commending the state governors for supporting the activities of the Legion as patrons in their respective states.
He urged federal and state government agencies to continue to patronize services of the Nigerian Legion Corps of commissionaires, especially in security matters, adding that ex-servicemen and women possess enormous potentials that could enhance national security and development.
Commending the Nigerian Legion for catering for the welfare of veterans, especially her ailing members, the President extolled the Legion for venturing into enterprises such as transportation, agriculture and housing among others through private sector partnership initiative.
He also lauded corporate entities for offering discounted services to military veterans, in appreciation of their selfless sacrifices to the nation.
The President urged all Nigerians and foreigners to procure and wear the emblems with pride to identify with Nigeria’s fallen heroes who laid down their lives for the peace and security of the nation. He equally encouraged all to donate generously in support of the veterans and the families of fallen heroes.
The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (Rtd), earlier in his welcome address, said the emblem appeal fund launch was significant to the 2020 AFRDC as it galvanizes support for families of fallen heroes, the wounded and ailing veterans. He also encouraged all compatriots to procure and wear the emblem throughout the remembrance period in order to boost the morale of serving personnel.
He called on members of the civil society, religious leaders, academicians and the media to ensure Nigerians are sensitised on the need to wear the emblem in recognition and appreciation of the sacrifices of the gallant men and women of the AFN as they relentlessly defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation.
During the emblem launch ceremony, the Chairman Nigerian Legion, Brigadier General Jones Akpa (Rtd) decorated President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo with the 2020 AFRDC emblem. The Senate President, Senate Ahmed Lawan and Minister of Defence were both decorated with the emblem by the Secretary General of the Nigerian Legion, Air Vice Marshal Gbolahan Adekunle (Rtd). The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin has also been decorated with the emblem.
Dignitaries that graced the event were members of the Federal Executive Council, NSA, CDS, Service Chiefs, IGP and heads of security and law enforcement agencies as well as other top government functionaries.
Acting Director Defence Information