By John Ikani
Today the 15th of January 2022 is Armed Forces Remembrance Day in Nigeria, an annual event commemorated to celebrate the nation’s servicemen and fallen heroes.
Since January 1970, the date has been set aside to commemorate the end of the Nigerian civil war.
It is also used to remember those who laid down their lives during the two world wars, the various peace-keeping operations around the world, various internal security operations, including the ongoing fight against insurgency, terrorism, banditry and secessionism, amongst other threats to national security.
Commemorating the day in Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari led a wreath-laying event and reviewed a presidential parade at the National Arcade in Abuja.
He was joined by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Tanko Muhammad; and the service chiefs led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, among other dignitaries.
After prayers were said in both Christian and Islamic ways, President Buhari who is the Special Guest of Honour at the event, laid a wreath to honour the fallen heroes.
Thereafter, Professor Osinbajo and others took turns to pay respect to the soldiers who paid the supreme price while protecting the nation’s territorial integrity.
In the course of the celebration, ceremonies are scheduled to hold across various states of the federation during which governors are expected to pay tributes to the nation’s fallen heroes.
Speaking on the event, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, said the military would not relent in discharging its constitutional duties towards safeguarding national security and democracy.
“Today, I believe that Nigerians are no longer in doubt as to the subordination of the military to civil rule. I believe that no one is in doubt that democracy has come to stay,” he said.
In his goodwill message on Friday, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya, commended the efforts of members of the armed forces in the various operations against national security, adding that the sacrifices of the fallen heroes will never be forgotten.
He charged members of the armed forces not to relent, but to sustain and consolidate on the successes recorded so far.
Also, in his message, the former spokesman of the Nigerian Army Brigadier-General Sani Usman Kukasheka, said the Nigerian Army had not fared badly over the years in their various operations in the fight against terrorism, kidnapping, banditry and other security challenges.
He said despite their sacrifices, the level of understanding and appreciation is not commensurate as many gallant officers, soldiers, ratings, airmen and women, as well as many types of equipment, had been lost in the course of national duty.