-As he lays wreath at 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, Sunday, boasted that his administration has been able to restore Nigeria’s hitherto lost sanity and territorial integrity, hailing the country’s Armed Forces for making his dream possible.
He asked the nation’s security outfits not to rest in their oars, saying they must keep the pace of actions they undertook in seeing the total defeat of insurgence in the country,noting that the country was proud of them.
Speaking, Sunday, in Abuja, at a live video call to Nigeria’s troops battling insurgency in the North East as well as international peace troops in Liberia, during the occasion of the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration, the president, who expressed satisfaction with the successes recorded so far by the troops not only in restoring peace in the country but African sub-region, asked the Armed Forces to maintain the tempo in its operations whenever in need.
“With your performances, we have been able to restore the sanity and territorial integrity of Nigeria. I congratulate you, “he said.
The president insisted that he was impressed with Armed Forces performance just as he said the rest of the nation was concerned about their welfare.
He assured the troops that government was with them in what they were doing, adding that his administration would always respond to their operational needs so as to achieve their set goals.
Earlier, President Buhari led senior government officials to lay wreaths at the National Military Cenotaph in Abuja.
The ceremony is held every January 15 in honor and memory of Nigerian military personnel who died in active service to the nation.
The president arrived at the occasion, and after the national anthem, reviewed the guard of honour mounted by the Nigerian Army, Navy, Airforce and the Nigerian Legion.
He thereafter proceeded to lay a wreath at the foot of the tomb of the ‘Unknown Soldier’ at the Military Cenotaph, opposite the Eagles Square, after Christian and Muslim prayers as well as observance of a-minute silence and one-round of gun salute were made.
Thereafter, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo laid the wreath at the Cenotaph, followed by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara; and the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen in that order.
Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello; Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonishakin; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Ibok Eket-Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, also laid their wreaths.
Not left out of the wreath-laying were the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris Kpotum ; the Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps and Cameroonian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Salahudeen; representative of widows of deceased soldiers, Mrs. Veronica Aluko as well as the Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, retired Colonel Micah Gaya.
The wreath-laying ceremony was followed by a thunderous 21-gun salute to the fallen heroes, as all officers and guests present remained standing.
The commander of the Brigade of Guards, Brig. Gen Sani, guided the President to sign the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Register and the release of white pigeons to signify peace.
An unprecedented highlight of the event was when the president got a firsthand experience in a theatre command control vehicle from where he spoke to the officers and men of the General Officer Commanding, GOC, 7 Division of the Nigerian Army as well as the troops fighting insurgency in Maiduguri, Borno state.
“Good morning officers and men of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, you have done Nigeria proud. I congratulate you and I thank you very much for the honour you have done to the country and to us. I wish you more success. Please, maintain the standard of efficiency. Thank you very much indeed, “he said.
On their part, the troops on ground in Maiduguri appreciated the president with three hearty cheers, as their commander promised to discharge their duties to the nation faithfully.
The president was also able to speak with the Nigerian Peace Mission troops in Liberia as well as view satellite images of the Nigerian Air Force surveillance over Maiduguri and nearby towns.