President Bola Tinubu on Monday led the Senate President, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, members of the Federal Executive Council, National Assembly, service chiefs and the diplomatic corps to honour the nation’s fallen and living heroes.
The event, which involved the laying of wreaths at the National Arcade in Abuja, was the climax of activities for the 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration (AFRDC).
First to lay the wreath was the President, followed by the Senate President, Speaker, House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas and Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
The wreath was also laid by Minister of Defence, Alhaji Muhammed Badaru, his Federal Capital Territory counterpart, Nyesome Wike and the Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle.
They were followed by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Christopher Musa; Chiefs of Army, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja; Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla and Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun.
Other dignitaries, who also performed the wreath-laying ceremony, are members of the diplomatic corps, Nigerian Legion and the widows of late officers and soldiers represented by the President, Military Widows Association (MIWA), Mrs Veronica Aluko.
There was also the firing of three volleys in honour of the fallen heroes which has its origin in the old custom of halting fighting in the warfront to remove the dead from the battlefield.
Tinubu, thereafter, signed the anniversary register and released the ceremonial pigeons as a symbol of national peace and freedom.
The Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration started with series of activities including Jumma’at prayer on Jan. 12, at the National Mosque and Interdenominational Christian service on Jan. 14.
This year’s celebration also featured sporting activities such as golf tournament and paintball combat competition organised by the Defence Headquarters among other activities.
The AFRDC is celebrated globally to recognise and appreciate the sacrifices made by citizens for the cause of peace.
In Nigeria, Jan. 15 is set aside annually to honour the fallen heroes who laid down their lives in service to humanity during the first and second world wars, Nigerian civil war, peace missions and various internal security operations.
The event is also used to honour veterans still alive and as a medium for soliciting financial, moral and material support for the families of the fallen heroes.
Fallen heroes, others deserve respect, honour – Akpabio
President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, says Nigeria’s fallen heroes, serving and retired military personnel deserve honour and respect.
Akpabio, said this in a statement on Monday in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Eseme Eyiboh .
He said the sacrifices made by members of the Armed Forces to keep Nigeria one and in peace should be acknowledged and accorded due honour and respect by every Nigerian.
“Nigerians owe their fallen heroes, serving and retired military personnel absolute honour, respect and in fact, a debt of gratitude because it is not a fluke for people to offer their lives in defense of their countrymen and women to live in peace and harmony.
“I sincerely salute their sacrifices, which sometimes go unnoticed and unappreciated.
“By laying their lives for our sake, those who died in the line of duty are our fallen heroes and must be honoured at all times.
“For those who are in the trenches fighting day and night, and those who have retired, we will continue to give them their due honour and respect.
“The military have been partners in the progress of defending the territorial integrity of the nation, maintaining peace and sustaining our cherished democracy. This is commendable.’’
Akpabio assured that the National Assembly under his chairmanship would continue to give priority and undiluted attention to the welfare of the members of the Armed Forces.
This, he said, was commensurate with their unwavering commitment and patriotism to the nation.
Akpabio, Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration, expressed the support of the legislature to the executive towards repositioning and rejigging the security architecture in line with current security challenges.
He also thanked families of military personnel, both dead and living for partaking in the sacrifices and pains their bread winners go through in the course of serving the nation.