Governor Alex Otti of Abia State has called on well-meaning individuals, corporate organisations and community leaders to initiate projects and programmes in support of the Armed Forces in appreciation of the sacrifices they make to promote peace and restore order and stability within the country, and across international borders.
Otti made the call during the 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration, held at the Aguiyi Ironsi Cenotaph, Ogurube Layout Umuahia.
He stressed the need for improved welfare of the Armed Forces that paid the supreme sacrifice for the peace and unity of the country.
The governor, while pointing out the integral role security agencies play in economic and social development, further called for a shift in focus towards supporting military personnel, both active and veterans.
Otti, who regretted that the welfare of the men and women of the Armed Forces had not received the quality attention that it deserved, noted that their welfare should be paramount and commensurate with the sacrifices they render in their service and post service years.
He said: “As a nation, we should be thankful that our servicemen and women, not minding the failures and willful amnesia of the political elite, have continued to stand firmly by their lifelong commitment of dedication and loyalty to fatherland that nothing, not even poor welfare conditions and reported abandonment of families of deceased colleagues, can dampen their morale.
“Even then, it is indeed very regrettable that the welfare of our men and women in uniform, in their service and post-service years, has not received the quality attention that is commensurate with the sacrifices they make.
“The time to make a change in the way we treat our active military operatives and veterans has come. It is the least we can do for the brave individuals for whom the fear of death means nothing.”
The Abia State Chief Executive commended the contributions of the Armed Forces to the security of Abia State and pledged the continued support of his administration towards the security of the state.
He noted that their contributions to the state government have culminated in the resumption of economic and social activities in areas that had hitherto served as safe haven for men of the underworld.
“Until the end of my tenure, the security formations, especially those operating in the state, can count on my consistent support for their welfare because our economic and social programmes would be sabotaged or fatally impaired without adequate security in all parts of the state.
“Beyond just supporting our men and officers in active service, we shall also work closely with the Nigerian Legion, Abia State Chapter, to support the body of veterans in our state for the good of the men and women who once served this nation with strength and devotion.
“We shall also not forget the families left behind by those who paid the ultimate price in service of our fatherland, defending its territorial integrity or keeping criminal elements at bay,” Otti pledged.
He called on citizens to uphold patriotism by prioritising the nation in their daily actions and expressions in addition to contributing to the pursuit of a just and equitable society.
High points of the 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration include, the inspection of a guard of honour by Governor Otti, laying of wreaths at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, special prayers and a minute silence for the fallen heroes as well as the release of pigeons signifying peace.
The event attracted the presence of the wife of the governor, Priscilla Otti, Deputy Governor, Ikechukwu Emetu and his wife; Speaker of the state House of Assembly and members of the House of Assembly, Chief Judge of the state, the President, Customary Court of Appeal, members of the state Executive Council, Service Chiefs, and members of the Nigerian Legion among others.