President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday led Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, members of National Assembly, service chiefs and the diplomatic corps to honour the nation’s fallen and living heroes.
The event, which involved laying of wreath at the National Arcade in Abuja, was the climax of activities for the 2023 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration (AFRDC).
First to lay the wreath was the President, followed by Vice President, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
The wreath was also laid by Minister of Defence, retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi and his Federal Capital Territory counterpart, Malam Mohammed Bello.
They were followed by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor; Chiefs of Army, Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao and Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo.
Other dignitaries, who also performed the wreath-laying ceremony are members of the diplomatic corps, Nigerian Legion and the widows of late officers and soldiers represented by Mrs Cynthia Uba.
There was also the firing of three volleys in honour of the fallen heroes which has its origin in the old custom of halting fighting in the war front to remove the dead from the battlefield.
President Buhari, thereafter, signed the anniversary register and released the ceremonial pigeons as a symbol of national peace and freedom.
The celebration started with series of activities including Jumma’at prayer on Jan. 6, at National Mosque and Interdenominational Christian service on Jan. 8.
This year’s celebration also featured sporting activities such as golf tournament and paintball combat competition organised by the Defence Headquarters among other activities.
The AFRDC is celebrated globally to recognise and appreciate the sacrifices made by citizens for the cause of peace.
In Nigeria, January 15, is set aside annually to honour the fallen heroes who laid down their lives in service to humanity during the first and second world wars, Nigerian civil war, peace support and various internal security operations.
The event is also used to honour veterans still alive and as a medium for soliciting financial, moral and material support for the families of the fallen heroes.