The Nigeria’s security forces roll out their drums to commemorate Armed Forces and Remembrance Day, an event celebrated on January 15th every year.
The day was set aside to remember war veterans who fought in the First and Second World Wars, and the Nigerian Civil War as well as retired armed security officers and those currently serving in Peace Support Operations, alongside officers suffering from various challenges as a result of armed conflicts.
Armed Forces and Remembrance Day is marked with series of activities including release of pigeons to symbolize peace, laying of wreathes on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, guns salute, emblem lunch, parade by serving armed officers and services in churches and mosques.
However, one question on the lips of some inquisitive minds is, have the objectives of the celebration been achieved?
our correspondent EVELYN AWUNOR said : The Commander 155 Base Services Group, Nigerian Air Force, Enugu Headquarters, Air Commodore Ebenezer Olayinka, explained that the cardinal objective of the event was achieved as Nigerians and the Armed Forces used the occasion to honour the departed heroes, who lost their lives fighting for the nation.
“Thank God for the victory over insurgency, the objective is being achieved, if not for the annual celebration of the event, it would have been forgotten but the celebration brings to consciousness and provides an avenue to remember our contribution to the world and all those who died in the war should not be forgotten.”
The Air Commodore while commenting on the essence of this year’s theme entitled “appreciating the resilience of the Nigerian Armed Forces” said it was chosen to provide a unique opportunity for Nigerians to reflect and appreciate efforts of the armed forces towards national development, especially the fight against insurgency.
The Deputy Director Public Affairs, 82 Division, Nigerian Army Enugu, Colonel Serkiru Musa, who noted that the government had been ensuring adequate care for families of the fallen heroes, urged the people to always render selfless services that they would be remembered for.
“The army has a standard way of caring for the families and children of the fallen heroes. The government pays their children’s school fees and the Army still provides their families with social welfare packages. If there is any organization that takes care of those who served the country loyally, it’s the Nigerian Army.”
Other Nigerians who gave their impressions about the event suggested that programmes should be organized for children whose parents died while serving the nation to encourage them.
Also that government should provide jobs for men of the armed forces who sustained injuries during the war, raise endowment fund for the armed forces to cater for officers whose legs and hands were amputated, widows or widowers of slain officers.
They further advised the armed forces to embark on road walk from street to street carrying placards on fallen heroes to enable civilians understand what they do. This is to ensure that the labours of our heroes past shall not be in vain, in line with Nigeria’s National Anthem.
In Enugu State, Dr. Michael Okpara Square, Independence Lay-out Enugu, where the Cenotaph is situated and venue for the grand finale of the celebration now wears a new look, repainted in the national colours of green and white.