President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday launched the 2018 Emblem and Appeal Fund in Abuja for the support of Nigerian veterans and fallen heroes.
The president was accompanied to the event of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, top government officials, service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police.
In his speech at the event, the president urged Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora to donate to the families of the fallen heroes.
“As I launch the Emblem today, I call on all Nigerians, the Diaspora and our friends to donate generously to the cause of the Nigerian Legion and families of the Fallen Heroes.
“I also hereby launch the Partnership Scheme for the Armed Forces in which all Nigerians, corporate organizations and government agencies should support and partner with the Nigerian Armed Forces in appreciation of the sacrifices of these honourable men and women”, Mr. Buhari said.
He said the gathering was in continuation of the tradition of recognising and appreciating the sacrifices of Nigerian “veterans in the First and Second World Wars, Nigerian Civil War, Peace Support Operations around the world, and Internal Security Operations, particularly the ongoing war on insurgency in the North-eastern part of the country.”
The president also commended state governors for their support of the Legions.
“Let me use this opportunity to thank the state governors who are patrons of the Legion in their respective states for the support they have been rendering to the Legion. I urge them to continue and improve on this even in the face of dwindling resources”.
“It is indeed worthwhile to honour the memory of our distinguished veterans who paid the supreme sacrifice to keep the country united. Some others have spent the best part of their lives in Service to keep our nation and the world in peace”.
“We must therefore cast our minds back at the events that led to the civil war, the immense human capital loss of the tragic war, and resolve that never again shall we allow our dear nation by our actions or inactions to experience another war”, Mr. Buhari said.
“I want to salute the gallantry, courage and sacrifices of men and women of the Armed Forces as they grapple with diverse and contemporary security challenges plaguing the country,” he added.
Mr. Buhari who was a retired major-general and former military head of state stressed that his administration would not relent in providing welfare for the families of the fallen heroes.
“I appreciate your display of unparalleled loyalty to the country and dedication to duty.”
“Being one of you, I understand what you have to undergo. This administration will continue to do all within its power and resources to ensure that your welfare is adequately catered for.”
“The noble culture of appreciation and respect for veterans and servicemen and women experienced all over the world is very much part of us in Nigeria.”
“I therefore look forward to a time when business concerns and service providers in the country would give special recognition and consideration for these distinguished citizens and support the veterans’ cause in any way they can through voluntary donations, employment opportunities and welfare support”, he said.
“As a government we desire to improve the capability of our Armed Forces. I am glad that our efforts are yielding positive results already in boosting the morale of men and women of the Armed Forces”.
“We will continue to engage them in training and retraining to improve on their capacity to discharge their constitutional roles”.
“I implore all to procure and wear the emblem with pride as a way of identifying with those that laid down their lives, the incapacitated and others still who are daily in harm’s way in order to guarantee our peace and security. We will always remember them and the respect we owe them”, he added.
Mr. Buhari reiterated the commitment of the retired servicemen and women to Nigeria.
“May I use this medium to commend the Nigerian Legion of which I am the Grand Patron, for its effort in maintaining comradeship of the Servicemen and servicewomen after retirement”, he said.
The event was graced by the Senate President, Speaker House of Representatives, Chief Justice of Nigeria and members of the Federal Executive Council.
Also in attendance were permanent secretaries and members of the diplomatic corps and senior military officers.