President Goodluck Jonathan has assured Nigerians that the war on terror is gradually being won as he expressed satisfaction with the progress being made by the Joint Task Force in enforcing State of Emergency in three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in May.
He stated this Thursday at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja during the burial of gallant officers and soldiers who died in Operation Boyona, set up to tackle the activities of Boko Haram insurgents in the North-eastern part of the country and also during peacekeeping efforts in Darfur, Sudan.
Represented at the event by Vice President Namadi Sambo, the President said their sacrifices would not and will never be in vain, adding that “Indeed, for us all, the loss is a tale of regret but we take solace in the fact that we are winning the war. They shall rest in peace knowing that.”
President Jonathan charged the military not to be daunted by the loss but to re-strategise to urgently end the insurgency, adding that his administration would continue to strengthen and improve the country’s security capabilities.
“As members of the Armed Forces, you must appreciate that the military profession is a hazardous job and in conflicts like this, there are bound to be casualties, including deaths. Rather than despair and lose focus of our objective, it is incumbent on us to respect and honour the dead by giving them a befitting burial while still strategizing to defeat the enemy,” he stated.
President Jonathan assured the families of the late military personnel, including those still serving that the country would never forsake them, urging them to “Remember that your loss is also the nation’s loss. Be comforted that your departed loved ones are resting in the bosom of the Lord. May the Almighty grant you the fortitude to bear the loss.”
In their separate remarks the Minister of State for Defence, Eleru Olusola Obada, the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Saad Ibrahim and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika, stated that the soldiers had made Nigeria proud and had laid their lives to ensure peace and unity continue to reign in the country. They assured that the military would not relent on its efforts to ensure that the peace and unity of the country is not jeopardised.
Speaking, on behalf of the relations of the dead soldiers, Pastor Iliya Joshua Amuda thanked President Jonathan, the military authorities and Nigerians for their support, appealing for an urgent end to the activities of the insurgents.
Highlight of the event was the laying of wreath by Vice President Sambo and other invited guests and also the presentation of national colours to the deceased next of kin.
The event was to lay to rest the remains of two officers and 13 soldiers who gallantly paid the supreme price as a result activities of Boko Haram in the North-eastern part of the country and during peacekeeping efforts in Darfur, Sudan. They were given full military honours.