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Delta: Tinubu offers scholarships to families of slain soldiers

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As part of his administration’s effort to appreciate the sacrifices made by military officers, President Bola Tinubu has said the families of each of the slain 17 soldiers will get a house in any part of Nigeria.

Mr Tinubu, who also gave national honours to the soldiers, also announced “scholarships to all the children of the deceased up to the university level.”

He made the announcement at the funeral of the personnel at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja, on Wednesday. Tinubu also directed the military authorities to ensure that the benefits of the departed are paid to their families within 90 days.

At the solemn event attended by some state governors, military top brass, and families of the deceased, the President bestowed posthumous National Honours on the 17 fallen heroes.

“On the 14th day of March, Lt. Colonel A. H. Ali, the Commanding Officer of 181 Amphibious Battalion, led three other officers and 13 soldiers to the Okuama Community to mediate in the lingering dispute with Okoloba Community.

“They went as peacemakers and peacekeepers respectfully seeking to bring an end to the hostilities between the two communities.

“They did not go with tanks, machine guns, and other weapons. They were on a mission of peace.

“Before the dastardly attack, Lt. Colonel Ali, as the Chief of Army Staff narrated to me, achieved great operational exploits; fighting terrorists and insurgents in the North East and North West before his deployment to the Niger Delta.

“Ali kept faith with his military calling until the end.

“On behalf of a grateful nation, we honour the sacrifice of Ali and the other gallant patriots who died that day. They will forever be remembered as heroes who answered the call of duty and paid the ultimate price,” Tinubu said

While reaffirming government’s commitment to justice, Mr Tinubu vowed to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to account.

While commending the military for not embarking on a reprisal attack on the community, the President declared, “I want to make it clear, once more, that those who committed this heinous crime will not go unpunished. We will find them, and our departed heroes will get justice.

“The elders and chiefs of Okuama also must help the military in fishing out the gunmen who committed the barbaric crime against our men.

“I wish to commend our Armed Forces for their restraint in choosing not to carry out any reprisal attacks on Okuama or its neighbouring communities. We must all ensure that the innocent people of Okuama are not made to bear the punishment of the guilty and wicked among them,” the President stated.

President Tinubu, while commiserating with the families of the fallen heroes and the entire Armed Forces, prayed God Almighty to comfort the bereaved.

“It is worth restating the debt of gratitude we owe these valiant soldiers and their families.

“As Commander-In-Chief, I do not take the contributions of members of our Armed Forces for granted. I recognize your valour and bravery. I honour your unflinching commitment to making our country safe from criminals, bandits, kidnappers, and insurrectionists.

“While we continue to grieve for the courageous men we lost that day, let us also, on this solemn occasion, be reminded of the unfinished business of working for peace and harmony in our communities. We must begin to rebuild our communities and make them into places where love, tolerance, and harmony will reign.

‘‘Leaders at all levels, especially community leaders and traditional rulers, must work to strengthen the bonds that unite us. We must end the cycle of violence and bloodletting”.

 

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