Armed Forces Remembrance Day

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In Nigeria, Armed Forces Day, also known as Remembrance Day, is celebrated on 15 January. It was formerly marked on 11 November of every year to coincide with the Remembrance Day (Poppy Day) for the World War II veterans in the British Commonwealth of Nations, but it was changed to 15 January of every year in Nigeria in commemoration of the surrender of Biafran troops to the Federal troops on 15 January 1970 thus signalling the end of the Nigerian Civil War.

In this year celebration, the President, escorted by the pipers band from the Guards Brigade, and received by the commander of the Brigade, Maj.-Gen. Musa Yusuf. Prayers were offered for the repose of the souls of the fallen heroes by Director, Chaplain services of the Nigerian Air Force, Wing Commander Kwase, and Director, Islamic services of the Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Mustapha, who also prayed for the peace, stability of the country.

Thereafter, President Buhari  took the lead to lay the first wreath, followed by the Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, Senate president Bukola Saraki, Speaker House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and the Chief Justice of Nigerian, Walter Onnoghen.

Others, who also took part in the wreath-laying ceremony, were Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, his Federal Capital Territory counterpart, Musa Bello, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of army staff, a Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Etete-Ibas, Chief of Air staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris, Dean of Diplomat Corps and Cameroonian ambassador to Nigeria.

The climax of the occasion was the laying of wreath by Mrs. Mary Alechenu, widow of a deceased soldier killed by the Boko Haram terrorists in the North East in 2015. Popularly known as the youngest widow in the barracks, Mrs. Alechenu, who was said to have been pregnant when her husband was killed, gave birth to her son eight months after.

There were also a minute silence to honour the fallen heroes, firing of the volley, signing of the anniversary register by the president, who later released some pigeons signifying peace, hope and unity for Nigeria.


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