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Armed Forces Day: PDP and APC butt heads over the issue of insecurity in Nigeria
The All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party on Friday clashed over the worsening insecurity in Nigeria.
This was as the nation marked the 2021 edition of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
While the APC urged Nigerians to avoid playing politics with the issue of security, the PDP advised the APC to end propaganda and secure Nigerians lives.
The APC made its appeal to Nigerians in a statement titled, “#AFRD2021: APC Hails Military Successes, Remembers Fallen Heroes,” signed by the National Secretary of the party, Senator Akpanudoedehe.
The statement commended officers and men of the military for laying down their lives in the defence of Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
The statement read in part, “We congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari on many visible and verifiable achievements of the military in the ongoing fight against insurgency and violent crimes in Nigeria as contained in the compendium: “Security Checklist: As Nigeria marks Armed Forces Remembrance Day’’, released to the public on Thursday.
“From the country’s 30-month civil war which ended on January 15, 1970 to the fight against terrorism, banditry and other emerging violent crimes, many servicemen have paid the supreme price for our safety, peace and unity.
“We pray for the protection of the living and remember the departed heroes and their families left behind.
“From international peace keeping missions to addressing security incidents within the country and overall discharge of its constitutional responsibilities, the military has undoubtedly made the country proud.
“Several innovations and inventions by the Armed Forces have resulted in the production of military hardware, infrastructural development, restructuring and reorganisation of its operations.
The party credited the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), for investing in military hardware, intelligence and tactical training for servicemen.
Akpanudoedehe also said, “We must collectively shun the practice of politicising issues of security and the efforts of our security services particularly the Armed Forces to keep the country safe. We should rather support their efforts to further degrade the capacity of terrorists and other criminal elements.
“We invite all Nigerians to rededicate themselves to the patriotic call contained in our national anthem which reads in part: “The labours of our heroes past, shall never be in vain”.
In response, the PDP which also paid glowing tributes to Nigeria’s fallen heroes said Nigerians deserve better than what the Buhari regime was currently listing as achievements in the area of security.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan told Saturday PUNCH, “Our gallant military men and women deserve all the accolades today and always for the sacrifices they made in the past and they are making today under very difficult conditions, they deserve better.”
Ologbondiyan further said, “How does President Buhari want an unmerited pass mark knowing that under his watch, bandits, terrorists, kidnappers and vandals, who have been pushed to the fringes before he took over in 2015, have now resurged, taking communities hostage, raping our women, beheading our compatriots and foisting a reign of terror to the extent that our nation ranked as the third country with the highest level of terrorism in 2019, after Iran and Afghanistan?”
Meanwhile, the doves, otherwise known as white pigeons, released by Buhari at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day ceremony, refused to fly despite multiple attempts by the President thereby sparking a debate on social media on Friday.
The President had opened the bird cage at the National Arcade, picked up one of the doves and thrown it into the air but the bird landed atop the cage and refused to fly.
Buhari, who was eager to let the white pigeons fly, opened the roof of the cage in a bid to send them all out but the birds remained adamant and decided to sit on top of the cage’s roof.
The President, who appeared tired of trying, soon left the birds and returned to his seat. Moments after the President had left, however, some of the birds flew.
The ritual of releasing doves is to commemorate the life of a departed loved one and is common at significant events like funerals or memorials. It also signifies peace.
A former Presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, Adamu Garba, said the birds should be eaten if they cannot do what they were trained to do.
Social media personality, Morris Monye,said the Department of State Services would have arrested the pigeons for embarrassing the President if they could.
A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, who is a known critique of the President, also tweeted, “Hmmm. Even the pigeons in Nigeria.”
Governors pledge better welfare for soldiers, families
State governors have reiterated their commitment to the welfare of soldiers in recognition of their selfless sacrifices to the country.
The governors paid glowing tributes to the military personnel at the Nigerian Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration on Friday.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who performed the wreath laying ceremony, at the Remembrance Arcade, Tafawa Balewa Square, commended officers in the military, Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Legion for their efforts in protecting the country against external aggression and keeping the peace internally.
“I want to congratulate and commend all of our officers in the military and also the Nigerian Police, but, more especially, men of the (Nigerian) Legion and everybody that has participated in this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance (Day) ceremony, the parade, men on guard and everything,” Sanwo-Olu said in a statement titled, Armed Forces Remembrance Day: Sanwo-Olu commends nation’s security officers,’ and signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Gboyega Akosile.
In Kwara State, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, called on Nigerians to continue to offer support to pray for the fallen heroes and support their families.
“As you know, the government is battling with the resources on all fronts. Like the President said, he would continue to meet the demands of men of service,” he said in Ilorin, the state capital.
Similarly, his Ondo State counterpart, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, called on the military to collaborate with the South-West Security Network, also known as Amotekun, in tackling insecurity in the state.
Akeredolu said, “We will continue to give loans without collaterals through the Ondo State micro credit agencies for the widows left behind and other qualified dependants of our fallen heroes who are into small, micro businesses to start up or boost their businesses.”
Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo state urged Nigerian to set aside their differences and form a united nation.
Speaking at a ceremony held at Heroes Square, Owerri, Uzodinma, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Oguwike Nwachuku, said the country had the capacity to be great.
On his part, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, said his administration had rehabilitated a total of 168 blocks of flats for military officers living at Ibagwa barracks in the Abak Local Government Area of the state.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia advised Nigerians to show greater commitments towards the task of building a greater and better society.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Sir Ude OKo Chukwu, at the ceremony in Umuahia, promised to continue to support the military and other security agencies in the state.
Gombe State Governor, Inuwa Yahaya, commended the fallen heroes for laying their lives for the nation and praised serving military personnel for risking their lives to keep the country safe.
Similarly, the Katsina State Government paid tribute to the Nigerian military for its efforts in safeguarding the state.
In Cross River State, Governor Ben Ayade acknowledged the sacrifices of ex-service men whom he
His Bayelsa State counterpart, Douye Diri, also lauded departed soldiers for their selfless service to the nation.
But the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, urged Nigerians to be united and pray for peace and always live in peace with one another, irr espective of religion and political differences, for the overall development of the country.
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