I am indeed happy to welcome everyone here to the formal launch of the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem and Appeal Fund.
Today, we are gathered here to first remember and commend the sacrifices of our fallen heroes and veterans of the First and Second World Wars, the Nigerian Civil War and Peace Support Operations around the world.
We also seize this opportunity to pay tributes to those men and women currently engaged in Internal Security Operations, particularly the ongoing fight against insurgency, terrorism and armed banditry in some parts of the country.
Despite the global Coronavirus Pandemic, these gallant officers and soldiers have remained steadfast in the difficult task of restoring peace and security in our nation.
We honour the memory of our gallant officers and men who have paid the supreme sacrifice in order to keep the country united as one entity. The nation remains grateful for the efforts and sacrifice of the Armed Forces especially in the fight against insurgency and other internal security challenges confronting Nigeria.
The Armed Forces Remembrance Day or Veterans Day as it is known in some parts of the world is an important event observed in commemoration of the end of the Second World War.
In Commonwealth member countries, the Remembrance Day is observed on 11th November yearly. However, for us the date was changed to 15th January annually to accommodate the commemoration of the end of the Nigerian Civil War.
Therefore, the occasion reminds us of the need to guard jealously the unity of the nation which was won at great cost.
It also serves as a reminder for our citizens to desist from divisive actions and comments that could jeopardize the unity and progress of the nation.
Nigeria’s strength lies in her diversity.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our dear nation has witnessed numerous security challenges since independence. These security threats have undermined Nigeria in the areas of trade, investment and economy, education, health as well as agriculture and frequently denied Nigerians the freedom of movement.
I am however pleased to state that a lot has been achieved in the Internal Security operations in the North West and North Central zones where in addition to Operations LAFIYA DOLE, HADARIN DAJI, HARBIN KUNAMA, WHIRL STROKE, other operations such as ACCORD, SAHEL SANITY and KATSINA were successfully launched.
This has led to the return of normalcy in some of the affected areas.
However, all hands must be on deck to check attacks on soft targets. On our part, we will continue to forge useful alliances with neighbours and friends in the international community for the total defeat of the security threats affecting the sub-region.
Our Administration will also ensure the timely provision of adequate resources and necessary logistics support for the Armed Forces to operate with the best and modern warfare equipment, while at the same time addressing the issues of their welfare.
We are quite aware that it is our responsibility to provide a conducive environment that is devoid of security threats. I want to re-assure Nigerians that security being one of the pillars of this administration will continue to be at the forefront until peace and security are restored in the country.
We will create an environment in which Nigerians and foreigners are guaranteed freedom and returns on investments.
On this note I urge business enterprises to render discounts and rebates to our men and women in uniform as a symbol of appreciation for their sacrifices. This kind gesture will make life easier for them and deepen their patriotism.
The unfortunate cost of the fight against insurgency and other internal security challenges, is the unavoidable loss of lives of some of our officers and men of the Armed Forces.
The reality is that the spouses and defendants of these bread-winners in most cases experience trauma and deprivation. However, we can be of support to them to lighten their burdens especially in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
I therefore call on all to spare a thought for them and take positive steps to come to their aid.
Let me use this medium to commend charity organizations involved in this cause of bringing succor to the families of our fallen heroes and veterans.
I will like to also call on more organizations that are yet to participate in this cause to please come forward and do your duty.
To ensure that our veterans continue to share the comradeship that existed while in Service and that their welfare is adequately catered for, the Federal Government established the Nigerian Legion AS WELL AS FULLY PAID ALL PENSION ARREARS OF VETERANS.
I am delighted to note that the Legion has continued to be a rallying point of veterans and has done a lot in catering for the welfare of their ailing members.
It is in this spirit, that I urge Nigerians to support and participate in the Legion’s initiatives in the areas of transportation, agriculture and housing development.
On my part as the Grand Patron, I wish to pledge my continued support and that of the Federal Government to the Nigerian Legion. I want to also urge state Governors who are patrons in their respective States to continue to support the Legion.
Similarly, government agencies at the Federal and State Levels are encouraged to continue patronizing the services of the Nigerian Legion Corps of Commissionaires in the provision of security services. The potentials of our ex-servicemen are enormous and we can indeed leverage on them for national development.
As I launch the emblem shortly, I wish to call on all Nigerians and others residents in Nigeria to procure and wear the emblems with pride in order to identify with those who laid down their lives for the peace and security of our fatherland.
I encourage all to donate generously in support of our veterans and dependents of our fallen heroes.
Esteemed veterans, ladies and gentlemen, it is now my honour and privilege to launch the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem and Appeal Fund.
Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.