Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the Nigerian military has in the past few years shown patriotism at its highest and the valiant men 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 North East of the country.
Osinbajo made the remarks on Sunday at the Interdenominational Church Service for 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.
The Vice President said: “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.
“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,” Osinbajo said.
He, however, lamented that in the past few weeks, the nation had buried 13 soldiers and one officer, adding that, just last week, 2 Air force pilots and 3 airmen died in battle fending off Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa terrorists in the Northeast of Nigeria.
The number two citizen appealed that as the nation celebrates 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.
“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.
“As 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 jeopardized by the reckless utterances and actions, which play on the religious and ethnic fault lines of our Nation,” Osinbajo added.
Osinbajo observed that the ordinary people of Nigeria have demonstrated time and time again, that they share common problems and that they have a common destiny.
He said that the desire for food, shelter, clothing and decent jobs is not blinkered by tribe, tongue or faith, saying, “Our unity and peaceful co-existence is the best tribute to our fallen heroes.”