President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday told troops on national and international assignments that they have made the country proud.
He said the success they recorded was well-received by Nigerians, wishing them more success while maintaining high standard of efficiency in their assignments.
He spoke while addressing the troops through a military gadget after he and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo led other top government officials and service chiefs to lay wreaths in honour of soldiers, who died on national and international assignments.
Buhari urged the troops to pass his message to their families that the Federal Government was mindful of their patience and anxiety whenever they are on the battlefield.
The ceremony was to mark the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
January 15th is also dedicated to remembering and appreciating surviving Nigerian military men, who have retired from active service.
It was the second time the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces was laying the wreath in a democratic setting.
Buhari was clad in white Babanriga, just like Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara.
The wreath-laying ceremony at the National Arcade in the Three Arms Zone in Abuja came after the Vice President launched the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day emblem and Appeal Fund in November 2016.
The brief ceremony started at 10a.m. when the President arrived at the National Arcade and inspected the guard of honour.
Christians and Muslims offered prayers for the departed souls and the nation.
One minute silence was observed in honour of the departed souls and there was gun salute.
Osinbajo, Saraki, Dogara, Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen and Minister of Defence Dan Ali Mansur, were among top government officials, who laid wreaths.
Others include Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Mohammed Bello, Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai, service chiefs, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris and National Chairman of the Nigerian Legion Col. Micah Gaya (rtd).
Buhari signed the register and led dignitaries in releasing white pigeons at the ceremony.
The President then spoke through military gadget with troops occupying the Sambisa forest in Borno State.
He spoke with the Acting GOC, 7 Division Nigeria Army, Maj.-Gen. Victor Ezugwu.
He said: “You have done Nigeria a great pride. Your success was well-received by all Nigerians. Well done. I wish you more successes. And maintain the standard for efficiency in your assignment.”
After briefing the President, the GOC led the troops to give three happy cheers to the President.
The President also spoke with troops in Liberia, led by Force Commander of United Nations Mission in Liberia, Maj.-Gen. Salihu Zaway Uba.
Buhari said the final batch of troops will exit from Liberia by 2018.
He said: “Good morning General. We thank God and we thank technology. I can see you and I can hear you. I am impressed with the turnout of your men and I thank you for keeping the flag flying on the performance of Nigerian military in the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations.
“God-willing as you briefed us, in 2018, the last contingent of Nigeria troops in Liberia will come back. I sincerely wish them a successful operation and I wish the General the best of luck.”
The troop also gave three happy cheers to the President after the Force Commander briefed him.
Through the Air Force video conference, the President spoke with Air Commodore Charles Owoh, who is the air commander of Operation Lafia Dole at the Air Force base in Yola, Adamawa State.
He said: “That was a good presentation. I get regular briefing from your Chief of Air Staff. Your performance speaks for itself and you have raised the morale of your colleagues in the military, especially the army. With your hi-tech performance and platforms, we have been able to restore the sanity and the territorial integrity of Nigeria. I congratulate you.
“For the officers and men, you know you cannot be over-trained. With your hi-tech outfit, training has to be continuous and I am very pleased with the initiative that you have taken in maintenance of equipment. It is very encouraging and a boost to our morale here.
“I congratulate you and please pass my message to your families that we are very cautious of their patience and anxiety whenever you are in the field. Thank you very much indeed,” he said.
All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun and other top government officials, including cabinet members, attended the ceremony.