President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday lamented Nigeria’s loss during the Civil War (1967-1970), saying such should never be allowed to happen again.
The president said this in his speech at this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
Read the full speech below.
The Vice President
Distinguished Senate President
Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives
Chief Justice of Nigeria
Members of the Federal Executive Council
Chief of Defence Staff
Service Chiefs and Inspector General of Police
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Press
I heartily welcome you all to the formal launching of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration 2018 Emblem and Appeal Fund. Our gathering here today is in continuation of a worthy tradition of recognizing and appreciating the sacrifices of our 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.
2. 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.
3. The resolve by our countrymen and women to remain in one indivisible and indissoluble nation, Nigeria is at the centre of this celebration. Indeed the Remembrance Day Celebration is being marked on the 15th of January instead of 11th of November as in other Commonwealth nations to commemorate the end of the Nigerian civil war – a war that was fought to keep Nigeria one.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. We will continue to engage them in training and retraining to improve on their capacity to discharge their constitutional roles.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. Distinguished Veterans, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my singular honour and privilege to launch the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem and Appeal Fund.
17. Thank you all and God bless Nigeria.