Nigeria: Osinbajo Salutes Armed Forces' Role in Sustaining National Unity

10 January 2022

Abuja — Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, hailed the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) over their role in sustaining national unity in spite of the sacrifices made by gallant men and women in arms.

He called on Nigerians to be agents of peace and justice in support of the efforts of the Nigerian armed forces to keep the nation united.

Also, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, said the armed forces would continue to give their best in addressing the prevailing security challenge confronting the nation.

On her part, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, called on well-meaning Nigerians to rise up to support the families and widows of the fallen heroes.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said the state government would continue to play its role and do what was expected in remembrance of the fallen heroes and heroines, who paid the supreme price for Nigeria.

However, Osinbajo, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, made the call at the Inter-denominational Church Service to mark the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration in Abuja.

He said the patriotic commitment of the gallant men and women of the armed forces was woven into the fabric of the common destiny of a nation populated by people of diverse faiths and ethnicity.

According to him, the diversity was reflected within the military, where people from various ethnic and religious backgrounds were united by their nationality with the desire to serve their country hence the reason the armed forces remained a symbol of the national spirit of resilience, unity and strength in diversity.

He noted that the sustainability of Nigeria's unity from the civil war to the present struggle against terrorists and insurgents, was made possible in large part by the dedication to duty of the men and women of the armed forces, often at great cost to themselves.

Osinbajo said, "The question of whether and it is still being answered eloquently by the sacrificial courage of the men and women that serve in our armed forces but the real question is, whether we as a people are worthy of their sacrifices.

"The only way to truly repay those that pay the supreme sacrifice or price in service of the rest of us is to commit ourselves to living for the ends for which they have given their lives. It is for the rest of us to live in accordance with our highest values as a people and ensure that we all become agents of peace and justice. Long before wars break out, violence manifests itself as hatred, prejudice, injustice and bigotry.

"All of us have a duty to take a stand and challenge these evils wherever they rare their heads to prevent them from taking root and breeding conflict. This is how we will ensure that the labours of our heroes will never be in vain," he said.

The vice president said citizens had roles to play in support of the military men and women at the frontline of struggle for the soul of the nation to contend for the triumph of civilised values over the forces of anarchy.

He said, "It was not just fighting to preserve that Nigeria of today with all its imperfections but to leave a better country behind for our children and children's children. It is the struggle to realise the words of our national anthem and make Nigeria a land, where peace and justice shall reign".

He reiterated the commitment of the government to ensuring that the families of the fallen heroes and veterans were adequately catered to, saying welfare benefits and entitlement of members of armed forces and their families would remain a priority.

Irabor, while addressing the prevailing security challenge confronting the nation, said the military had achieved milestone in containing the challenges, adding that the armed forces would escalate the actions that brought about the current successes against insecurity.

He noted that the military would ensure that there would be no need for anyone to worry in any part of the country, saying 2022 held better good for the country.

Tallen, on her part, said the government had been doing its best and would continue to do more, adding that government alone could not completely address the needs of the affected citizens.

"The least we can do is to support them because their husbands laid down their lives for us and the cry of a widow is to pray to God. I pray that every Nigerian would resolve to support the widows of our fallen heroes and if we do it, we will breed healthy families and healthy children," she said.

Sanwo-Olu, speaking at the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration interdenominational divine service held at the Chapel of Christ the Light, Alausa, Ikeja, commended the Nigerian Armed Forces for keeping the peace in different parts of the country and promised to continue with the tradition of remembering the fallen heroes and to always pray for the living among them.

Speaking at the interdenominational service organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs and themed: "I will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14)," Sanwo-Olu said his government would keep the tradition of ensuring that the relationship between his administration, the residents and Armed Forces continue to grow, praying that God would heal the land.

The governor also urged the citizens to support the security forces as they work tirelessly to keep the nation safe.

"As we keep the tradition of having this service to remember our fallen heroes and heroines that have paid the supreme price for this great nation, the government and people of Lagos State will continue that tradition and will continue to ensure that the relationship that exists between the political class, the civilians and the military, continue to grow on daily basis.

"Today is for the remembrance of our fallen heroes and on behalf of the people and government, I want to thank all their families that are here and assure them that government will continue to do what is expected of us to continue to remember them and to say that their efforts and commitments to the country are not in vain.

"We pray that our country will know peace; will know greatness. As we journey in 2022, the peace of the Lord, which surpasses all understanding will rest with our country and our state. It will be well with Lagos State. It will be well with Nigeria. It will be well with each and every one of us," he prayed.

In his sermon, Bishop Isaac Olubowale, Bishop of Ekiti Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, emphasised that Nigeria as nation must return to God for solution to it's current challenges.

Using the National Anthem as example, Olubowale said the nation was founded on God with the core elements of the anthem anchored on God.

A Board Member and former Secretary, Nigerian Legion, retired Capt. John Adole, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to the welfare and well-being of the members of the legion and the armed forces.

Adole said the entitlements of the retired personnel were being paid regularly under the present government, adding, however, that their welfare needed improvement considering the current economic situation.

Also, in his sermon, the Executive Secretary, Lagos Anglican Schools Management Board, The Venerable Victor Olusa, said the theme of the service was very relevant and appropriate to Nigeria's situation, adding that people should endeavour to do the right thing and not to castigate their leaders.

He said people needed a reorientation of values as God was ready to heal Nigeria and Lagos State, praying that Nigeria would rise again if all the citizens humble themselves, seek God's face and turn from their evil ways.

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