Home Politics Armed Forces Remembrance Day-Legionnaires wants improvement of welfare

Armed Forces Remembrance Day-Legionnaires wants improvement of welfare

Pic 24. From left: Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas; Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris at the Wreath Laying Ceremony to mark the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration at the National Arcade in Abuja on Monday (15/01/18) 00282/15/01/2018/Callistus Ewelike/NAN

Enugu – The Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Enugu State Council, Mr Emeka Igwesi has called for improvement in the welfare of ex-servicemen in the country.

Igwesi made the call on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu shortly after the laying of wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier by Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and others.

The event was part of the activities to mark the end of the 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day in the state.

The chairman said that the ex-soldiers and families of the fallen heroes were not getting the attention they deserved in terms of their welfare.

He described the event as `significant, an encouragement to the military and an honour to the fallen heroes.

“You can see the condition of some of the legionnaires that attended the wreath laying ceremony. Some of them are either wounded or incapacitated.

“We call for improvement in our welfare including those of the families of the fallen heroes,” he said.

Igwesi said that some state governments like Rivers State and few others were taking good care of the legionnaires in their states, adding that others needed to emulate such.

“Our pension needs to be reviewed as we are not receiving enough payment. The assistance given to the families of fallen heroes is not enough to empower them economically,’’ he said.

The highlight of the occasion was the laying of wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the state governor and other dignitaries.

In Anambra, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr Uche Okafor, has urged well-meaning Nigerians to commit part of their God-given resources to better the condition of families of fallen heroes and legionaries.

Okafor, in a statement in Awka, to mark this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration, also urged government at all levels to prioritise the welfare and proper upkeep of ex-service men in the country.

He extolled the contributions of Nigeria’s ex-service men to the security, growth and unity of the country, noting that the peace and corporate existence of Nigerians required our collective responsibility.

“I call on the serving security personnel in the country to emulate the team spirit and selfless services rendered by the country’s fallen heroes.

“I also urge them to intensify efforts towards the provision of adequate security for the masses,” he said.

The speaker commended Gov. Willie Obiano for his support to the state chapter of the Nigerian Legion and urged security chiefs to complement the governor’s efforts in securing lives and property of residents in Anambra.

In Abakaliki, Legionnaires in Ebonyi called on concerned stakeholders to redeem pledges they made to the legion during past armed forces Remembrance Day celebrations.

Rtd. Capt.Fidelis Ogodo, Chairman of the legion made the appeal on Wednesday in Abakaliki during the celebration of the 2020 armed forces remembrance day, urging Gov. David Umahi to intervene in the issue.

Ogodo said that the legion would be grateful if the governor compelled those concerned to redeem the pledges which would assist them to enhance welfare of their members.

“The Local Government Area chairmen and Coordinators of Development Centres are supposed to launch armed forces remembrance day in their various LGAs.

“They are however, not doing so according to reports we received from our council legion chairmen.

“We appeal to the governor, business moguls, special guests and other honourable men and women, to assist the legion by donating generously towards the upkeep of veterans and their families.

“We also urge the state governor to remember wives of veterans and those of fallen heroes in his various empowerment schemes,” he said.

The state legion chairman thanked the state governor for continuously paying the monthly stipends of indigenous legionaries despite paucity of funds in the state.

“We also thank him for donating a brand new Hilux Van to the legionaries during the armed forces Remembrance Day of 2019 and appointing two of our members as his Senior Technical Assistants.

“We also urge the governor to provide us with a befitting office accommodation as the office provided for us at the state government’s cabinet office is not enough.

“We want to remind the governor of the letter dated May.16, 2019 from the Federal Ministry of Defense, requesting the government to allocate farm lands to the legion for agricultural activities among other needs,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gov. David Umahi inspected a guard of honour mounted by the Nigerian Army, police and other security agencies and also laid a wreath at the tomb of the ‘unknown soldier’.

The commander of the military cantonment, Nkwoagu, near Abakaliki, state commissioner of police, state chairman of the Nigerian legion, state chairman of the traditional rulers council among others, also laid wreaths.

Prayers for the continued peace and unity of the nation and for the families of the legionaries were offered at the occasion by the catholic and the Anglican chaplains of the Nigerian Army, it’s Imam among others.

In Abia, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu admonished Nigerians to engage in acts that would not only promote national peace and unity but also complement Federal Government’s initiatives toward nation building.

The governor, represented by his deputy, Chief Ude Oko-Chukwu, who described the event as the best form of remembrance, said it provided an opportunity for Nigerians to rekindle and reaffirm their resolve to live in peace.

“It is pertinent for Nigerians to join hands in peace building, reduction of conflicts, banditry and kidnapping to the barest minimum.

“I commend the military and other security agencies for their immense contributions toward national security and urge Nigerians to appreciate the sacrifices made by the nation’s departed and living heroes,’’ he said.

The colourful ceremony was attended by top government functionaries, including the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Chris Ezem, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Ukachi Amala, and the Wife of the First Military Head of State, Mrs Victoria Aguiyi-Ironsi.

In Imo, the Speaker of the Imo House of Assembly, Dr Collins Chiji also called for support for the armed forces of Nigeria for their sacrifices for the country.

The Speaker, who stood in for the governor in waiting, Senator Hope Uzodimma, said it was a “thing of joy and glory” that the ceremony coincided with the swearing in of the new governor of the state.

NAN reports that the ceremonies for the Remembrance Day were held at the same venue the inauguration of the new governor is expected to take place.

The Speaker also stood in for the governor during the wreath laying ceremony and prayers for departed soliders.

Present at the ceremony were representatives of the Navy, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, widows of fallen soliders and the Police were also present to lay wreaths.


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