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Buhari, service chiefs, others honour fallen heroes

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Buhari participated at the Wreath Laying to mark the end of the 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebrations at the National Arcade, Eagle Square Abuja. Photo: TWITTER/NIGERIAGOV

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday led other top government functionaries, including service chiefs and members of the diplomatic corps, to honour the nation’s fallen heroes.

The event, which involved the laying of wreaths at the National Arcade, was among the highlights of the 2020 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration.

First to lay the wreath was the president, followed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Senate president, House of Representatives speaker and Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

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The Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd.), and his Federal Capital Territory (FCT) counterpart, Mohammed Bello, followed to lay the wreaths.

Thereafter, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar; Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, performed the exercise.

Other dignitaries who also laid wreaths were representatives of the members of the diplomatic corps as well as Nigerian Legion and widows of the late soldiers.

Buhari later led the dignitaries to the signing of register and release of pigeons.

Armed Forces Remembrance Day is an annual event by the Ministry of Defence to honour soldiers who laid down their lives during the first and second world wars, Nigerian civil war, peace support and various internal security operations in the country.

The day also is an opportunity to honour the veterans who are alive as well as solicit financial support for the families of the dead.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the celebration started with a series of activities, including Jummat prayer on January 10 at National Mosque and Interdenominational Christian service on January 13.

However, security experts in Lagos have urged the Federal Government to give priority to children of the fallen heroes by giving them jobs.

The experts told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that though there were different policies for families of the fallen heroes, a security insurance tailored towards education for the children would be a good idea.

One of them, Cdre. Omatseye Nesiama (rtd.), said that though the service had some policies in place to take care of the families of the fallen heroes, a social security insurance scheme should be added to it.

“We ask that the loved ones left behind by our fallen heroes be properly catered for through the institution of a social security insurance scheme that will be driven by the Veteran Affairs Department under the Ministry of Defence/Defence Headquarters,” he said.

Nesiama, who is the vice chairman of Top Private Security Services, said that the children of the fallen heroes could also be given priority in job placements in the military if they desired.

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