By Oladapo Udom and Florence Onuegbu, Lagos.
The Lagos State Government on Sunday said that it would continue to support the widows and families left behind by military personnel, who died in the course of duty.
The Lagos State Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, who represented Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said this at the Nigerian Armed Forces Remembrance Day, which held at Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos.
Hamzat commended the efforts of the military in protecting the integrity of Nigeria adding that without their efforts, the country would not have been able to do much.
“Lagos, as a state, has always and will continue to support the military and all the paramilitary agencies responsible for maintaining our security.
“At the same time, we remember the souls of those who departed, while defending the territorial integrity of our country.
“May their souls continue to rest in peace and we pray that God grants their families the fortitude to bear the loss,” he said.
The deputy governor said that the government was in touch with widows of fallen heroes and had devised means of meeting their needs and ameliorating their sufferings.
“We talk to the widows individually because each family has different needs.
“People’s needs are not meant to be made public. We have been supporting them and we will continue to support them,” Hamzat said.
Also speaking, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Obinna Ajunwa, gave an assurance the government and armed forces would continue to support the widows and their families of the fallen heroes.
“I assure the widows that we will continue to remember them because they are in the minds of the service chiefs and the commander-in-chief; we remember them every day.
“The government and the armed forces will continue to take measures to ensure that their pains are ameliorated, in terms of free education for their children and other related things,” he said.
The GOC said that the government of Ogun State, which is also under his Area Of Responsibility, had done a lot for the widows in the barracks to support them.
“For instance, the Ogun State Government has done a lot for the barrack community, in terms of development, renovation and even constructing the roads leading from towns to the barracks.
“This has made it easy for those of them who are involved in agriculture to move their items to the market and access the main city with ease.
“We also have other private citizens, who have done a lot for the widows in the barracks, notably the Tony Elumelu Foundation,” he said.
Ajunwa said that the day set aside for remembering the fallen heroes should not just be a one-day affair but a routine arrangement, not just for the government but also for private individuals.
He, therefore, called on private individuals, who were affluent, to empower some of the widows, who lost that their husbands in the course of national service.
Also, the representative of the fallen heroes wives in Lagos State, Mrs Oyinlola Shobowale, said that what they needed most was sponsorship of the education of their children to university level.
“The government recently sent a message to us that they will start calling us from Jan.17 to Abuja, to help with sponsoring our children’s education up till university level.
“This will go a long way because we do not have any assistance from anywhere.
“Most of us have lost our breadwinners, and since the government had promised to help us, they should ensure to follow through with their promise,” Shobowale said.
Oyinlola is the wife to the late Sgt. Temidayo Shobowale , who died in 2021 in Yobe State.