Armed Forces Celebration & Remembrance Day: Gov Sanwo-Olu Extols Gallant Soldiers, Fallen Heroes

…says “it’s a significant day”

By: Okosun Dennis

The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has applauded the efforts of gallant officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces and their colleagues who died in the course of defending the land, saying they would continuously be remembered and appreciated in the history of the country.

Speaking at the Parade and Laying of Wreaths Ceremony at the Remembrance Arcade, Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), in commemoration of the 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance Day on Monday in respect of the fallen heroes, he thanked the Armed Forces for their invaluable contributions to nation building.

Those who also laid wreaths included the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division, Major General Mohammed Usman, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Apapa, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan; the Air Officer Commanding, (AOC), Logistics Command, Nigerian Airforce, Ikeja, Air Vice Marshal AY Abdullahi, the Commandant, Nigerian Legion, Lagos State chapter, Akeem Wolimoh, Representatives of Chief Judge of Lagos State and Oba of Lagos respectively as well as the Lagos State Coordinator, Military Widows, Mrs Oluwaseyi Illia.

Gov Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was the Special Guest of Honour (SGOH), further explained that “it is a unique thing to celebrate this year’s Armed Forces Celebration and Remembrance Day where the nation come together to recognize and acknowledge our gallant fallen heroes that have served the country for decades.

“It’s a day to continue to remember them, their families and loved ones they have left behind and to commit their families into God’s hands.

“Today is very significant where the government and people of Nigeria have come to appreciate their efforts, contributions and what they have done to the nation and we would continue to appreciate their gallant work during their lives and even when they passed on.

“It has become a national significant day that everybody must honour them, wish our gallant soldiers and officers well and continue to encourage them. We are happy that everybody turned out well in their right colours,” Sanwo-Olu reiterated.

In a chat with our Correspondent, Mrs Oluwaseyi Illia, the Coordinator, Lagos State Military Widows and wife of late Major Yerima Illia of the Nigerian Army, gave glowing tribute to her husband who died on 23rd October, 2017, while serving in the North East.

She eulogized the contributions of the Nigerian Army especially the welfare package to the families of fallen heroes, adding that a lot more is needed as “life has not been easy.”

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“With the little efforts from the military, we have been fine but would plead they do more to assist us the widows of the fallen heroes, whose husbands have paid the ultimate price. The economic situation in the country is impacting negatively on us hence we have not been finding it easier.”

On the scholarship for children of deceased officers and soldiers, she explained that the children are benefiting from the scheme in as much as such they meet the criteria. She used the opportunity to call on the government especially the Lagos State government to come to their aids.

On his part, the Commandant, Nigerian Legion, Lagos State Chapter, Akeem Wolimoh commended the ingenuity of both the federal and Lagos state government for their continued support in welfare needs.

He used the opportunity to call on the Federal government to fastrack the payment of palliative granted the veterans and balance of Security Debarment Allowance (SDA).

“The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs has mandated the Nigerian Legion to coordinate the veterans and dependants of fallen heroes. We have submitted the forms and the payment will soon commence as expected,” Wolimoh added.

The celebrations was marked with colourful parade by a detachment of personnel from the Nigerian Army, Navy, Airforce and Nigerian Legion.

In addition, Gov Sanwo-Olu unveiled pigeon to commemorate the Celebration and Remembrance Day. He also signed the condolence register as well as the observance of the 21 Gun salute as a mark of Honour in addition to the one-minute silence for the fallen heroes.

Present at the National Arcade were the Commander, 81 Division Garrison, Nigerian Army, Brig Gen Abubakar Sadiq; the Commander, 9 Brigade Ikeja Cantonment, Brig Gen Adegoke Adetuyi; Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft, Apapa, Commodore Kolawole Olumide Oguntuga; the Commander, 65 Battalion, Bonny Cantonment, Victoria Island, Lt Col Mohammed Marwa; a retinue of White Cap Chiefs from the Lagos State Traditional Council and other government functionaries.

The Armed Forces Celebration and Remembrance Day (AFCRD), is observed on 15th January to commemorate the servicemen of the Nigerian Armed Forces. It also honours veterans of the World War I and II as well as the Nigerian Civil War.

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