By; Bala B. Bitrus, Minna.
Respite has come the way of the Legionnaires in Niger state as Governor Abubakar Sani Bello doles out N6.25Million to swell their coffers.
The Governor who also made a case for improved welfare for the families of fallen heroes, noted that the services and sacrifices of our heroes past should continue to draw not only our commendations as a people but our sympathy, support and assistance as a nation.
The Governor spoke at the occasion of the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Appeal Week, launch and sale of Poppy.He said soldiers who fought and laid down their lives for Nigeria to remain a proud and an indivisible entity today need everyone’s support and benevolence in appreciation for what they did to make the country what it is today.Governor Bello however bemoaned the plights of ex servicemen in the country, who despite their sacrifices of laying their lives in patriotic service to their father land, are left to wallop in abject poverty and neglect. He said it was unfortunate to see such heroes and defenders of our territorial space, our unity and those who fought for our peace and progress neglected and most times relegated to the backdoor.
Speaking at the occasion held in the Government House Minna, at the weekend, the Governor noted that for sacrificing their lives, our ex service men deserve special attention and places in our national life.
He called for a change of attitudes towards our Legionnaires, stressing that they deserve better treatment and respect from all of us.
Governor Bello said the payment of their severance or disengagement packages and all other entitlements should be on first line charge even as he frowned at the way ex-service men are allowed to suffer in penury while pursuing their retirement benefits.
“The situation families of our fallen heroes find themselves is even more pathetic. We need not allow them continue to suffer double tragedy. They lost their loved one, bread winners and fathers in service of their father land hence we must not allow the widows and children of these fallen heroes to suffer anymore. We need to rally round them to give them sense of pride for what their fathers did yesteryears” he said.
Governor Bello announced a cash donation of N6 million from the state government and a personal donation of N250,000 to the Legionnaires. He also directed all the 25 local government councils in the state to also support the Legionnaires.Chairman of Nigeria Legion in the state, Warrant Officer Abubakar Musa Kutigi had earlier explained that the annual Armed Forces Remembrance day was to pay tribute to fallen heroes who paid the ultimate price in various theatres of wars including the fight against insurgents for the continuous unity and stability of Nigeria.Kutigi expressed appreciation to Governor Bello for redeeming his promise to contribute to the Legionnaires’ well-being. He appealed to well placed individuals, philanthropists, corporate and religious organizations to assist dependants of our fallen heroes so that the sweat of our heroes past may never be in vain.Over 13.9 million was realized at the launch.