We Celebrate Our Gallant Patriotic Troops of the Nigerian Military
8 January 2016
Next week Friday, 15 January is the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, an annual celebration to honour our heroes of the Nigeria military both serving and retired, dead or alive.
Our movement appreciates and celebrates our gallant troops for the invaluable sacrifices they made and continually make, toiling day and night to keep us all safe, and enhance our dignity as a nation.
This year’s theme is ‘Motivating the Nigerian Armed Forces for Effective Service Delivery’.
In this week leading to the remembrance/appreciation day, we call on as many as can to purchase and proudly wear the Armed Forces Remembrance emblem, to use the hashtag #WeCelebrateOurTroops, and to reach out to our men and women in uniform, as well as veterans and appreciate them.
We have written to the President, C-in-C asking him to exercise his prerogative of mercy in granting pardon to all soldiers who were wrongfully convicted and sentenced even if their sanctions were only recently reduced. It would be a gross miscarriage of justice for any of those who from recent revelations were not at all equipped with arms to fight the terrorists to be sentenced to jail no matter how short the period.
Our request is further strengthened by the fact that the President had himself admitted in an interview on 24 December 2015 that “monies meant to equip our military and cater to their welfare were diverted and shared by wicked men, which led to some of our troops disobeying orders”.
We therefore call on all Nigerians to join us in appealing to the president to kindly exercise his prerogative of mercy and grant these ones a presidential pardon and return them to service with the assurance that this exceptional action will in no way diminish longstanding military doctrine and traditions of absolute discipline and obedience to superior order.
We note that unfortunately, many families of our heroes who paid the supreme price are not informed in a dignified of their death. Sometimes they learn of such tragic news in the most callous of ways like for example on social media or through the rumour mill. This in our opinion is not the honorable way our fallen heroes who put their lives on the line to keep us all safe should be treated. We therefore call on the military to authourities to reach out to all such affected families and accord the full honors to their lost ones as is the standard military practice. We also urge the military to publish the names of all our fallen heroes who died in the line of duty, especially fighting the insurgency. They must not be allowed to remain anonymous. We all should be allowed the consolation of mourning their passage and given the opportunity to celebrate their sacrifice for our nation.
Another way of honouring, celebrating, and motivating our troops is to ensure that families of our fallen troops are treated with compassion and dignity even after their loved ones have been buried. It means that all the benefits and support that are due them must be provided promptly. We ask that the delays and onerous processes that throw bereaved families into more sorrow should cease forthwith.
We dare to posit that it is callous to owe salaries to soldiers at the battlefront because nothing can be more demotivating. We therefore call on the military authorities to expedite actions in paying up the full arrears of such salaries and design a better system for promptness going forward.
While we celebrate our soldiers, we also wish to use the occasion to convey our concerns about recent allegations against the military of extra-judicial murder of citizens in different circumstances and various parts of the country for breach of peace. We are perturbed that our military’s manner of communication continues to raise suspicion thereby eroding the trust and credibility that citizens need in order to be partners in restoring order, peace and stability. We therefore advise the leadership of our armed forces to take urgent steps to rebuild public confidence, starting with transparent and accurate public communication of its recent activities in the northeast, Zaria and Onitsha.
As has been our culture of demonstrating our appreciation and support of our troops and celebrating their heroism, we shall be holding a special sit-out on 15 January 2016 (the next day after our march to re-engage with the president on 14 January) at Unity Fountain Abuja as from 4.45 pm, followed by a candlelight vigil in their honour, for the fallen and the living, both in and out of service. We specially invite members of the armed forces, their families, and everyone who appreciates their sacrifice to join us on this day. We also urge everyone wherever you may be to carry out any form of activity to in honour of these heroes.
For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls
HADIZA BALA USMAN