ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
The Nigerian Armed Forces are the bastion of national unity and deserve more care and attention from government while in active service to the fatherland, Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri has asserted.
Diri spoke at a special thanksgiving service held in honour of ex-service men at the King of Glory Chapel, Government House, Yenagoa, as part of activities lined up for this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration.
He underscored the vital role played by the armed forces to secure and keep the nation together, noting that the government could not gratify military officers in commensurate measure considering the sacrifices they had made and continued to make for the country.
The Governor who spoke through his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, noted that Nigeria was standing as one indivisible nation because of the sacrifices being made by military men despite the pockets of separatist agitations across the country,
He said over 80 per cent of serving military officers were not living together with their families, the development that had made them leave the mentorship of their children in the hands of others.
Recalling the killing of about eight soldiers in battle in Zamfara State two days earlier, Diri pointed out that the nation would be doing itself a great disservice ‘if its love for the living and fallen military heroes is limited to just a one-day, yearly remembrance celebration.”
He, therefore, reiterated his earlier call on the National Assembly to come up with legislation to adequately provide for the care and educational training of children of officers who die in the line of duty.
Diri also restated the need for the eight local government chairmen to put modalities in place to celebrate the Armed Forces Remembrance Day in their various council headquarters of the state.
He stated: “I really want to use this opportunity to call on the Federal Government that we need to do more than we are doing currently for the service men in uniform.
“The sacrifices they make are unquantifiable and inestimable. Nigeria is united today because people risked their lives to keep Nigeria united. Even as I speak to you, there are various frontiers of discontentment and agitations, whereby some people are trying to pull the nation apart because they want to go their way.
“About 80 per cent of the serving officers seated here do not have their families by them here. So what happens is that their families are at the mercy of other persons to mentor. Your mentoring is a key facility for you to bring up children like you.
“Only yesterday we heard that we lost eight soldiers in Zamfara State. Every other day we hear our men in arms giving up their lives for the nation.”
In his sermon entitled, ‘Honouring A Life of Sacrifice’, Senior Apostle Michael Makpah, urged people to emulate the life of the biblical Abraham, stressing that anywhere sacrifice is offered, there is the need for honour to be given.
Makpah noted that members of the Nigerian armed forces were driven by love for the country to put their lives on the line for the maintenance of peace, security and territorial integrity of the nation, and therefore must be better appreciated.
The Bayelsa First Lady. Dr. Gloria Diri; the state Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri; service commanders, commissioners, other top functionaries as well as the State Executive of the Nigerian Legion, Mr Ogele Okubokeme attended the thanksgiving service.