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By Paul Nwosu 

It was a day of sober reflection at Ekwueme Square, Awka on Monday, January 15 as Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, CFR, undertook the solemn wreath-laying ceremony of the 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance Day.

Governor Soludo fervently prayed for the repose of the souls of the members of the Armed Forces who fought gallantly to secure Nigeria and also for the patriotism and commitment of those who are still in service. 

In the words of Mr. Governor, We pray that God will give them the courage, life and health to continue to serve our fatherland as they have sworn and taken oath to do so.”

Soludo described the occasion as a double-barrelled event, that is, in the first instance celebrating those who had gone and at the same time celebrating those who are still the living.

For the governor, it was essential to remember all those who fought to maintain the territorial integrity of the Nigerian nation and those who had gone on peace-keeping missions all over Africa and the world. Its equally crucial to remember the gallant forces who fought during the civil war that ended on January 15, 1970. 

Governor Soludo stated that he believes that the choice of the date, January 15, is quite auspicious, stressing that as Nigerians remember all those who died in the course of service, the people will be able to say: Never Again!

According to Governor Soludo, This country remains united, remains strong as the greatest black power on earth as we pay tribute to our heroes who died in the course of service.” 

The governor added the dimension of also remembering the widows and the widowers along with the legions and all those who retired from active service.


He prayed thusly: May your days continue to be long as we also pray for a healthy life. You spent most of your productive age in the service of our nation. We appreciate you.”

He used the occasion to specially appreciate all the men and women in uniform who are serving here today in Anambra State.”

In an emotion-laden voice, Governor Soludo said: Those who have served especially since I assumed office as the Chief Servant of the state on March 17, 2022 - we've fought together, battled together, bonded together fighting a common enemy. The criminals who are in the bush, who come under various guises, their mission is one of big, lucrative criminality. That is who they are, that is what they are about, involved in kidnapping and killings of many ndi-Anambra residents.”

He reiterated his commendation of the Armed Forces - the Army, Navy, Airforce, Police, Civil Defense, DSS and all the other forces including the gallant men of the vigilante services who are also fighting alongside members of the regular forces in the course of which some of them have paid the supreme sacrifice.

Governor Soludo said: Due to your combined efforts, your gallantry, professionalism and commitment, today, the eight local governments that were totally under siege when we arrived here - hundreds of camps all over in all our bushes and forests  have been salvaged. I think it is fair to say with every sense of modesty that the difference between then and now is like the difference between day and night. We want to thank you all as you continue to devote your time and efforts to the service of our state. Anambra today is certainly one of the safest states in Nigeria today, if not indeed the safest state.” 

Soludo highlighted the fact that the Christmas season was an eloquent testimony to the freedom where ndi-Anambra had an unprecedented mass return in all communities and villages. He added for good measure that even Ukpor that had three or four camps - in those days nobody could go there - but Ukpor had a mass return during this Christmas.”

It was therefore worthwhile to celebrate our Armed Forces and the fallen heroes, as Governor Soludo stated: May their souls rest in peace! We will never take your sacrifices and commitment for granted. We remember and we will do whatever we can to support the widows and widowers, to support members of the legion, and we pledge our support to members of the Armed Forces as you continue to toil day and night. Every day, you put your lives on the line so that the rest of us can sleep. Rest assured that Anambra State Government under my leadership has your back. We will continue to provide whatever support that we can to keep this state safe, and have security, law and order firmly established as the foundation for every society.”

He averred that all over Nigeria today, there are insurgents, kidnappers, miscreants and criminals who have taken the law into their hands, maintaining that without security, law and order, there can't be any society.

“We can't build the Nigeria of our dreams without taking a firm grip of security, law and order, Governor Soludo asserted.

The governor also took out time to remember members of the State House of Assembly who “make the laws for law and order; our judiciary, our judges, our magistrates,  all working tirelessly and very hard to ensure that all who misbehave are called to order.”

For the people who are in the streets, the governor stressed the need “to remind ourselves as ordinary citizens that we all have a duty in ensuring that security, law and order prevails as it is not just the duty of the Armed Forces but the duty of all as everyone has a role to play.”

Governor Soludo reminisced that he had earlier launched a programme, "if you see something, say something." This way, everyone has a role to play, whether it is the intel about criminals in the bush masquerading under all manners of names.

Soludo said: They are not unknown gunmen, they are known criminals. They have parents, siblings and relations. They come from villages, they come from our communities. They are our friends. Send your intelligence, send intel, give us information, and the members of our security team will take them out so that the rest of us can have peace. We cannot have a society where people pick and choose which laws they should obey, or they don't like. That will be a society that will be defined as Anarchy. When a law is lawfully passed by a lawful authority, everyone in a democracy, a decent society, a civilized society is bound by that law.”

He remembered saying in one church service that if people began to choose which laws they would obey, then there would be no need for the Ten Commandments because it's geared towards restraining mostly individual behaviour.  For him, we can't have a society where people do what they like as that's an aberration in any decent society. 

“As they say, order is the first law in heaven! Governor Soludo stated.

In conclusion, Mr. Governor said: Today, as we celebrate our Armed Forces, both those dead and living, we want to remind the entire citizens that we can make their job easier by each of us resorting to responsible citizenship. Be the change that you want to see! If you see something, say something! Also, we show empathy and understanding to the members of the Armed Forces. When you see them at those check points, they are there for you. Imagine yourself standing under the sun and rain, from morning to night. They are not your enemies, they are our friends. They are there to protect each and every one of us.”


Commissioner for Information

Anambra State

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