The Armed Forces Remembrance Day is marked every year on January 15 as a day set aside to celebrate Nigeria’s fallen heroes who died in the line of duty while fighting to ensure the territorial integrity of the nation. The day also celebrates the living members of the Armed Forces who have suffered some form of deprivation owing to their activities on the various battlefronts.
It also marks the surrender of the Biafran troops to the federal troops which signalled the end of the country’s civil war that lasted from 1967 to 1970. Officials of the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force and the Nigerian Legion converge in different centres across the nation to celebrate the day with parades.
Yesterday, President Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinabjo, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), service chiefs, and others honoured Nigeria’s fallen heroes with the traditional laying of wreath to mark the 2020 Armed Forces Remembrance Day at the National Arcade, Abuja
The Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration (AFRDC) is an annual event put in place to honour those who laid down their lives during the first and second World Wars, Nigeria Civil War, peace support and various internal security operations.
The occasion is also used to honour veterans who are alive and solicit for financial support for their well being and families of the fallen heroes.
The first World War officially ended at the 11th hour on November 11, 1918, which is the day other nations observe the AFRDC. However, in order to reflect Nigeria‘s peculiar historical experiences, January 15 of every year was adopted as the date to observe the AFRDC to observe the end of Nigerian civil war.
This year’s AFRDC was regarded a special because it coincided with 50 years of the end of Nigerian Civil War and with some recorded success in security in the terror-ravaged Northeast and other parts of the country.
At the event, the president, Military Widows Association, Mrs Veronica Aloko, urged Nigerians to refrain from words capable of causing crisis in the country.
She lamented that the country had continued to record colonies of widows who do not bargain for the wars which claimed the lives of their loved ones.
“Let peace reign in this country, some conflicts can be avoided, we are paying the price for what we never bargained for; our husbands never bargained for war, words that will aggravate pains should be avoided and that is why we are preaching peace,“ she said
She thanked the Defence and Police Officers Wives Association (DEPOWA) for their empowerment initiatives targeted at the widows and dependants of the fallen heroes.
The acting director, Defence Information, Brig-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, said that the Armed Forces of Nigeria had put in place measures to provide succour for the families and relations of the fallen heroes.
He said that the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) had in partnership with DEPOWA recently provided food stuffs and other welfare packages for the families of fallen heroes and assured them of continuous support.
“It‘s a period to remember the sacrifices that the fallen heroes and veterans have made and still making in various operations across the country.
“We have various schemes in place to cater for the relations and families of fallen heroes and those deformed. We have educational programmes that cater for their children from primary to tertiary institutions,“ he said.
Nwachukwu thanked Nigerians for coming to the aid of the veterans and also support the armed forces.