The Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on Thursday, 7th January, 2016 said the Nigerian society must device means to reward and support war veterans that has kept the Nation together always and not annually.
The Governor while launching the Emblem to commemorate year 2016 Armed Forces remembrance Day at the banquet hall of the Government House stated that veterans should not be made to regret serving their fatherland.
He noted that the least that Nigerians and government can do is to keep the memory of these soldiers alive, supporting those that are active and taking adequate care of the families of the departed.
Aregbesola averred that the emblem being launched is a reminder of their service and sacrifice hence an obligation on Nigerians to support them.
He enjoined all to encourage the effort by wearing the emblem with pride during the week of remembrance, saying President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians and visitors to wear the emblem throughout this week.
The Governor said, “they must be well supported, they took up soldering as a divine call, or else they could have taken to other more lucrative and less tasking vocations. They should not be made to regret serving their fatherland in its defence.
“Our own society must devise means to specially reward and support our veterans. Their plight should not be an annual event, during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration only. “In other lands, stores give them special discounts; those returning to school have their tuition fees slashed while veterans are given free passes to gated events. In several instances, they enjoy free medical care and other social services”. Aregbesola stressed.
He lamented the engagement of veterans for sentry duties, saying it is not enough and in many cases amounts to under utilisation of resources.
The Governor held that there are diverse ways veterans can be engaged productively and maximally as most of them have acquired advanced skills in many vocations that could be deployed into nation building and development.
“Those of them with combat experience can be re-programmed and put in a special police units needed to engage armed bandits and other violent criminals in our urban centres. They will be glad to resume their defence duties in civilian capacities.
“It is also important that we review our philosophy of soldering by having a productive citizen’s army. In a peacetime like this, a lot of our teeming but idle youths can be absorbed into the armed forces.
“Apart from giving them excellent professional training, they should also be given excellent vocational training and deployed for services where needed”.
Earlier in his address, the Deputy Commandant-general and Chairman Nigerian Legion Osun, Col. Alimi Samotu commended Governor Rauf Aregbesola for his fatherly assistance towards the plights of the legion since inception of his administration.
Speaking on the significance and plight of ex-servicemen, he explained that the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Appeal Week is a familiar event set aside by Nigeria to express concern and appreciation for the fallen heroes.
He said the fallen heroes must be forever remembered because of the supreme sacrifice they made particularly during the Nigerian Civil War.
“The gallant fighters lost their lives on the battle field without a farewell to their families and other dependants and many who did not die became maimed. They suffered from mental degradation and all other forms of evils of war.
“While remembering the Fallen Heroes today, we must as a matter of responsibility, remember their dependants, their children, the aged and those Ex-servicemen who had been maimed in the course of defending their fatherland”.