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Osinbajo warns against reckless utterances, actions

By - - [Politics ]

VICE President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday called on Nigerians not to allow reckless utterances and actions of some people, who are playing on the country’s religious and ethnic fault lines to threaten its unity.

Osinbajo spoke during the Interdenominational Church Service for the 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration in Abuja.

According to him, the supreme sacrifice paid by the nation’s military should not be allowed to go in vain.

Reflecting on the resurgence of attacks by Boko Haram sect, which recently claimed the lives of several dozens of soldiers, Osinbajo said the era of the terrorists holding local government areas and hoisting their flags has gone.

The vice president also appealed that the families of the gallant military officers that sacrificed their lives in the bid to secure the territorial integrity should not be allowed to suffer.

He said: “Today, again we participate in an annual tradition of remembering and honouring our departed military heroes. This particular remembrance day is perhaps more poignant than any other.

“In the past few weeks, we have buried 13 soldiers and one officer, and just last week, two Air force pilots and three airmen; all these men died in battle fending off Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa terrorists in the Northeast of Nigeria.

“In the past few years, we have seen patriotism at its highest. Our valiant men and women of the armed forces have destroyed the backbone of Boko Haram, who once attacked Abuja, Kano and Kaduna with impunity and hoisted their tattered flags over 17 local governments in the Northeast.

“Today, both Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa operate as small even if deadly guerilla bands in parts of Borno State. But in these battles we have been sharply reminded that indeed “freedom is not free”. . That peace is often paid for with blood and gore.

“And that no nation can secure its territory without the selflessness and the supreme sacrifices of many. And truly as someone said: ‘Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it’.”

He added: “So, as we celebrate this Remembrance Day, we solemnly thank the Almighty God for giving us men and women ready to obey the call to fight and if need be, die for the fatherland.”

Hailing the dead soldiers for dying on line of duty, he said: “We are grateful that they were faithful to the cause, that they did not betray the trust of millions, that they gave up all the comforts of life and the love and affection of family that we may enjoy the same.

“Our posthumous thanks to them and their families, who not only bore the fearful apprehension of their going to war, but also the heartbreak of their deaths.

“But our gratitude must also mean a commitment to ensuring that their families are cared for, that their children do not ask why the sacrifices they made were made at all.

“Also important is to ensure that they did not die in vain. This unity and territorial integrity of the nation for which they died must not be jeopardised by the reckless utterances and actions, which play on the religious and ethnic faultlines of our nation.

“The ordinary people of Nigeria have demonstrated time and time again that they share common problems and a believe in common destiny. The desire for food, shelter, clothing and decent jobs does is unblinkered by tribe, tongue or faith. Our unity and peaceful coexistence is the best tribute to our fallen heroes.

“I honour the bold and brave departed and pay heartfelt tribute to their families, indeed they daily pay the supreme sacrifice by their loss, and I thank the Almighty God for our nation, and for the men and women of honour and courage that gave all for it.”

The first Scripture Reading was taken by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin, from Isaiah 43:1-13.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, took the second Scripture Reading from the book of John 10:1-18.

During the service, there were intercessory prayers for the country.

A special rendition was made by the Armed Forces Christian Women Fellowship. The Military Mass Choir also made a presentation.

Those who attended the church service included Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and his wife, and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen.

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