Posted by News Express | 16 January 2020 | 592 times
As Nigeria on Wednesday marked 50 years of the end of the country’s tragic civil war, President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the citizens to ensure that the mistakes and tragedies of the fratricidal war are not repeated.
He assured Nigerians that the federal government would remember the victims of the conflict and honour those on both sides who lost their lives.
The president said that their tragedy shall be neither forgotten nor repeated.
In a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, the president said that the war served as a “potent warning on the dangers of aggressive regionalism, ethnic baiting and political corruption. In it, we must forge common memory that can serve as a bridge to a future free from the ravages of sectarianism.
“We remember the past to draw its lessons; on how we move forward together and live in peace. Unfortunately, there are some who fail to recognise them and instead repeat its mistakes, preaching inflammatory rhetoric meant only to divide. We call on all leaders and parties to moderate their language.
“There were no victors in this war. Yet in rejecting division and embracing unity, we ensure those lives lost were not in vain.
“Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.
PMB, Osinbajo, others honour fallen heroes
Also on Wednesday, President Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinabjo, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), service chiefs, and others honoured Nigeria’s fallen heroes with the traditional laying of wreath to mark the 2020 Armed Forces Remembrance Day at the National Arcade, Abuja
The Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration (AFRDC) is an annual event put in place to honour those who laid down their lives during the first and second World Wars, Nigeria Civil War, peace support and various internal security operations.
The occasion is also used to honour veterans who are alive and solicit for financial support for their well being and families of the fallen heroes.
The first World War officially ended at the 11th hour on November 11, 1918, which is the day other nations observe the AFRDC. However, in order to reflect Nigeria‘s peculiar historical experiences, January 15 of every year was adopted as the date to observe the AFRDC to observe the end of Nigerian civil war.
This year’s AFRDC was regarded a special because it coincided with 50 years of the end of Nigerian Civil War and with some recorded success in security in the terror-ravaged Northeast and other parts of the country.
At the event, the president, Military Widows Association, Mrs Veronica Aloko, urged Nigerians to refrain from words capable of causing crisis in the country.
She lamented that the country had continued to record colonies of widows who do not bargain for the wars which claimed the lives of their loved ones.
“Let peace reign in this country, some conflicts can be avoided, we are paying the price for what we never bargained for; our husbands never bargained for war, words that will aggravate pains should be avoided and that is why we are preaching peace,“ she said
She thanked the Defence and Police Officers Wives Association (DEPOWA) for their empowerment initiatives targeted at the widows and dependants of the fallen heroes.
The acting director, Defence Information, Brig-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, said that the Armed Forces of Nigeria had put in place measures to provide succour for the families and relations of the fallen heroes.
He said that the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) had in partnership with DEPOWA recently provided food stuffs and other welfare packages for the families of fallen heroes and assured them of continuous support.
“It‘s a period to remember the sacrifices that the fallen heroes and veterans have made and still making in various operations across the country.
“We have various schemes in place to cater for the relations and families of fallen heroes and those deformed. We have educational programmes that cater for their children from primary to tertiary institutions,“ he said.
Nwachukwu thanked Nigerians for coming to the aid of the veterans and also support the armed forces.
Bauchi govt declares January 15 public holiday in honour of Tafawa Balewa
Meanwhile, the Bauchi State government has immortalised the late Prime Minister of Nigeria, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and declared January 15 of every year as a public holiday, a lecture and prayers in his honor.
The state governor, Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, announced this yesterday at the maiden edition of the annual memorial lecture and prayers in honor of Balewa, Bauchi.
Mohammed said that the lecture and prayer session were to reorient the people of the state on the lifestyle of the late prime minister in order to encourage the younger generation to emulate him.
He said that the state government would promote culture through organising such events considering the contributions of Balewa in securing the independence of the country.
Represented by the commissioner for Culture and Tourism, the governor recalled that the deceased worked tirelessly during the First Republic with other regions and tribes of the country.
Mohammed said: “The late Nigeria’s Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, was an asset not only to the state, but the country and the international community. We must emulate his legacies for the country to make progress.”
The governor said that through the Ministry of Education, the state government would come up with a reading book to train students on the legacies and lifestyle of Balewa for the future of the country.
The killing of Balewa and other prominent Nigerians contributed to the outbreak of the civil war.
Mohammed reaffirmed the determination of his administration towards the advancement of culture and tourism for the economic development of the state.
He said that to improve the revenue drive of the state, his administration would work in synergy with experts to meet set target.
A member of the Balewa family, Malam Bilyaminu Tafawa Balewa, described as a welcome development, the declaration of January 15 of every year by the state government as a day for lecture and prayers in honour of their father.
Bilyaminu appealed to the state government to consider resuscitating Balewa’s tomb to attract more tourists to the state and to support the family to set up a foundation.
Kogi Gov promises more support for families of fallen heroes
Also on Wednesday, Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, reaffirmed his administration‘s commitment to support the armed forces, law enforcement agencies and the families of fallen heroes in the state.
Bello spoke at the commemoration of the 2020 Armed Forces Remembrance Day at the World War I and II Cenotaph, Lokoja.
He charged the living heroes to continue to defend Nigeria’s sovereignty and urged the citizens to support the government to cater for the wellbeing of the loved ones left behind by the fallen heroes.
The governor also implored the citizens to maintain law and order as security was a collaborative effort of different sectors of the society.
He was joined by heads of military and paramilitary agencies, representatives of retired service men, and the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Dr. Ado Ibrahim, to lay wreaths in honour and remembrance of the nation‘s fallen heroes.
The governor had earlier inspected the Guard of Honour, signed the Hardbook, and released pigeons to mark the event. (Leadership)
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