Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has advocated for the Federal Government of Nigeria to set up a standing fund to cater for the welfare of war veterans and families of fallen heroes as the yearly raising of fund is not sustainable, and should be discouraged.
According to Governor Wike, such a fund will be replenished with yearly budgetary allocation as it is done in countries that truly values the contributions of the security agencies.
The governor spoke at the Rivers State Emblem Appeal Fund Launching that held on Tuesday at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Port Harcourt on Tuesday, 20 December 2022.
Gov. Wike emphasised that the day set aside to launch emblem should only be for remembrance purposes, reflecting on the sacrifices made by men and women of the armed forces in keeping Nigerians together and ensuring that peace prevails in the country.
“I think that we are tired in this country with every year meeting to launch emblem to support families of the fallen heroes.
“What I thought, as is done in advance countries, the day should be used for remembrance of their (veterans) efforts.
“That means, by now, as a country, we should have a standing fund that will take care of the families of the fallen heroes. That is what serious countries should be talking about.”
When such is done, the governor noted, the call on individuals and corporate entities by legionnaires will not be the norm anymore.
Governor Wike pointed out that it becomes mockery when the day is spent in soliciting for financial support as an enduring measure of sustenance of legionnaires.
“When you say, you solicit for support of corporate bodies, they laugh at us and say what kind of country is this.
“People who have fought for you. People who have laid down their lives for you to be alive to survive, to continue with what you are doing, we are still talking about how do we support them?”
Governor Wike remarked that it is most likely the reason why officers of the nation’s security agencies are not committed to professionalism in the discharge of their duties.
“They know when they die, all they will hear is launching of emblem to help their families. So, they are involved in so many things to take care of their families in case anything happens to them.”
That is why, Governor Wike stated, the oil bunkering business seemed to have continued unabated even if it is an economic sabotage, which are allegedly aided by the security agencies.
The governor commended the Rivers State police command for tracking down the killers of three policemen around Rumuokoro in Obio-Akpor council.
Governor Wike announced that the Rivers State government will give N20M each of the families of the three slain policemen.
On behalf of the Rivers State Government, Governor Wike launched the Emblem with N50M
In his speech, Rivers State Chairman of Nigerian Legion, Justice Chichi noted the immeasurable support members of the legion have received from the Rivers State Government under the leadership of governor Wike.
Chichi declared that no one else across the country has contributed as much to the welfare of the legionnaires as done by the Rivers State governor.
“In 2018, you (Gov Wike) approved the establishment of a scholarship scheme and the award of scholarship to Fifty-Five (55) orphans, in 2019 you gave us a brand new coaster bus to ease our operations.
“In 2022, you further approved the award of scholarship to Fifty (50) orphans having graduated some of the earlier beneficiaries. You have continued to support our widows in great measures.”
On his part, Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo said the Emblem Appeal Fund Launching signals the commencement of the 2023 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebrations in the State.
The events, he noted, is organised in acknowledgement of the selfless services rendered by men and women of the Nigerian Armed Forces to ensure the civil population enjoy peace.
“Today, we have gathered to honour and appreciate these wonderful people for the comforts they provided for us and our businesses.
“They served with heart and might and truly their labour, “shall not be in vain” I urge all of us here to join His Excellency, Governor of Rivers State, who since 2015 to date magnanimously provided for the welfare of the Nigerian Legion as a body, and at the family levels.
“Let us remember that ‘on the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind’. Therefore, as those who benefitted immensely from their service, and shall continue to benefit; let us show by our deeds, today that we will never leave the veterans, their widows and children behind.”
Among others who launched at the event included Port Harcourt Local Government Chairman, Allwell Ihunda, who launched N23M on behalf of the 23 local government areas.
Elder Ferdinand Alabraba launched N5M on behalf of Rivers Elders, and the Chairman, Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja launched the emblem with one million Naira on behalf of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers.