Pres Buhari: "We owe debt of gratitude to families of fallen heroes, we will not forget"

Speech of President Muhammadu Buhari, delivered by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on the occasion of the Launch of the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem and Appeal Fund on 15 November, 2016.

1. I am delighted to welcome you all to the formal launching of the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem and Appeal Fund.

We are gathered here today to observe a worthy tradition of acknowledging and appreciating the gallantry and sacrifices of our veterans in the First and Second World Wars, Peace-keeping Operations around the world, and internal security operations particularly the ongoing campaign against terrorism at home.

It is indeed fitting and worthwhile, even noble to honour our distinguished veterans some of who paid the highest price and many others who devoted significant parts of their lives to the service of our country and the world at large.

Indeed when we sing that portion of our National Anthem “the labour of our heroes past, shall never be in vain” as we just did moments ago, it is to this exceptional Nigerians that we refer, reminding ourselves regularly of their humbling contributions to the maintenance of peace and security at home and many times abroad.

2. Since independence 56 years ago, our nation has witnessed a number of internal strifes, survived a civil war but has remained united. Our people have through all consistently shown a desire to remain as one people, and this itself honours the sacrifices of our fallen heroes, heroines, and veterans who rose up and continue to rise up to confront the security challenges of the day.

We are here today to demonstrate our appreciation for their service, and to value their devotion and honour their memory.

This is why the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration is observed annually on 15th of January to commemorate the selfless service of our gallant troops.

The theme of this year's celebration: "Appreciating the Resilience of the Nigerian Armed Forces" is therefore very apt. It speaks to the perseverance, and dedication of our serving and departed men in uniform. Those great attributes are particularly on display in these trying times in our national life as our men make the valiant efforts to bring down the insurgents. Let it be said over and again, that as an administration we would continue to honour our military forces in their arduous ongoing fight against terrorists, do all we can to remember their sacrifice and appreciate their families who bear the brunt in differing levels of pain and loss. 

As a nation we are grateful to our loyal and gallant troops for ensuring that terrorism and hate do not prevail in our land and and doing so with such commitment. To their families we owe an even greater debt of gratitude and a permanent duty and promise that we will not forget.

3. Let me also salute the courage and sacrifices of men and women of our Armed Forces in grappling with militancy, oil theft and piracy in some parts of our country. They have displayed unalloyed loyalty and commitment to Nigeria.

Our dear Fellow countrymen, & women, ladies and gentlemen, when we consider the situation and conditions under which they died or suffered physical incapacitation, those of us who are beneficiaries of their sacrifice carry a compelling moral duty to do our level best to contribute towards the welfare and sustenance of their families, and dependents. Beyond our words of gratitude that honor their memories and service, our modest material comfort can go a long way to ameliorate their pain and loss.

4. This is why the Nigerian Legion, ought to number very high among our charitable organizations of note, attracting our utmost and well-deserved patronage both as government and a people. The Nigerian Legion which is the umbrella body of the veterans has continued to contribute to the growth and development of the country.

My dear Legionnaires, as we celebrate this all important day, I commend you for your steadfastness, perseverance and exemplary conduct. The members of this body have continued even in retirement to provide excellent services in all spheres of our national life. In its determined quest to ameliorate the sufferings of its members, the Legion has introduced the "Personal Asset Acquisition Scheme (PASS)" to afford members the ease to purchase both household and agricultural commodities at affordable prices across the country. I appeal to all relevant bodies in the public and private sectors to do all they can to support this creative initiative.

Besides, the Legion also in 2014 introduced the Nigerian Legion Humanitarian Day as part of activities marking the annual Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration. During the Humanitarian Day, Legionnaires engage in social work, humanitarian activities as well as empowering widows and dependents of our fallen heroes. Let me therefore, call on well-meaning Nigerians and corporate organizations to support the Legion as much as possible including helping it achieve the aims of this most lofty idea of an Humanitarian Day.

5. The emblem launch today is meant to appeal to all Nigerians to identify with the sacrifices of our fallen heroes and veterans by making generous donations towards supporting the Nigerian Legion. Furthermore, after the emblem launch, it is my pleasure to implore all Nigerians to procure and wear the emblem with pride especially throughout the remembrance period. Let me also reiterate my call to all Nigerians to donate very generously in support of our veterans and families of our fallen heroes. This would show that we appreciate their sacrifices and services to the survival of our dear Nation and fatherland, that indeed their sacrifices and labour were not in vain. I implore all our distinguished guests to purchase the emblem for their families and friends. We also encourage and expect that this should be replicated at all the other tiers of Government.

6. The Federal Government would continue to show commitment to

addressing the challenges facing our Veterans. To this end, we have recently implemented the recommendation to harmonize their pensions. We are also happy to note that the Military Pensions Scheme is running efficiently even as verification exercise for ex-service men and women was successfully conducted recently. The Ministry of Defence has been charged to come up with programmes that would enhance the living standards of the veterans. I appreciate the efforts of the State Governors who are Patrons of the Legion in their respective States for promoting the Legion. I urge them to continue to lend their support and give concessions to the Veterans and the families of the departed.

7. Distinguished guests, our noble veterans, ladies and gentlemen, it is now my honour and privilege to launch the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem and Appeal Fund.

8. Thank you all and God bless Nigeria.

Released by:
Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President