By Kingsley Omonobi, Gabriel Ewepu-Abuja
Two Army Majors and thirteen soldiers killed by Boko Haram Terrorists in the North Eastern states of Borno, Yobe, as well as UNAMID operations in Darfur, Sudan, were yesterday given national burial at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja with President Goodluck Jonathan insisting that the nation will win the war on terror.
At the burial ceremony which took place at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja, scores of officers and men of the force, amidst grieving relatives of the gallant officers and men, Jonathan represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo described the death of the officers and soldiers as a sacrifice for the nation’s unity.
His words, “We are gathered here on a sad note to honour our gallant officers and men who have sacrificed their lives for the peace and progress of our nation. On several occasions and different for a, I have reiterated the commitment of this administration to strengthening and improving the nation’s security capabilities to enable us confront challenges of the 21st century”.
“As a result, this administration is steadfastly involved and implementing policies in the nation to tackle security challenges, especially, the Boko Haram terrorism and insurgency.
“Currently in order to face the threat headlong I declared a state of emergency in three northern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe on 14 May 2013. The Chief of Defence Staff was mandated to deploy troops to take all necessary actions within the ambits of their rules of engagement to deal with the impunity of insurgence and terrorism”.
“Today, we are here gathered to lay to bury the remains of two officers and 13 soldiers who gallantly paid the supreme price as a result of this directive. As we mourn and bury them, I hereby reiterate that their sacrifices shall not and will never be in vain”.
“We mourn but we take solace in the fact that we are winning the war. Members of the armed forces will appreciate that in military operations like this there are bound to be casualties”.
“We are here gathered to pay our last respect to our gallant officers and men, and we shall give them befitting burial. To the family of the deceased gallant officers and soldiers, we assure you that we shall not forsake you in this trying time. We assure you that all benefits due you shall be promptly paid.”
The 15 soldiers killed Major Abdullahi Fambiya, Major Abdulllahi Kanoma, Staff Sgt. Keku Adebayo, Corporal Ahmed Usman, Cpl. Mathew Ade, Lcpl. Adamu Ibrahim, Lcpl. Suleiman Gimba, Lcpl Saduaki Salisu, Lcpl Usman David, Lcpl. Olusola Ajani, Private Zakariya Dauda, Private Daniel Kantona, Private Nya Bassey, Private Bassey Emmanuel and Private Enyenihi Effiong.
Also speaking at the event, Minister of State Defence, Dr. Erelu Olusola Obada stated that the country appreciates the bravery of the fallen officers and men, and promised federal government’s support for the military.
“On behalf of the armed forces, I want to reiterate that the gallant efforts of these men who proudly showcased the great spirit and tenacity to serve and save our nation from destructive elements shall not be in vain. We therefore see their death as noble in the course of duty to serve humanity”.
“The nation appreciates the great sacrifice of these men and other members of the armed forces of Nigeria who continued to make sacrifices to ensure enduring peace in our nation and other parts of the African continent. We are committed to doing our best in supporting the armed forces in the call to duty and ensure the unity of Nigeria”.
“Let me end by saying, and I quote, ‘good men must die but death cannot kill your names’ and the names of our fallen heroes will never die in our hearts”.
Speaking on behalf of the next-of-kin’s at the event, Pastor Iliya Joshua called on government to thoroughly investigate the cause of death of the officers and men as their death remains a mystery to them.