At an interdenominational Church Service marking the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration in Rivers State, Bishop of Diocese of Niger Delta, Rt Rev Wisdom Budu Ihunwo, said Nigeria cannot be better when there is profound injustice.
While urging Nigerian leaders to work to reversed the magnitude of oppression in the land, he also charged them to be like Jesus Christ who came to earth, fulfilled the dictates of his manifestos without distraction.
The bishop spoke as Governor Nyesom Wike lauded men and officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces for their commitment to safeguarding the sovereignty of the country and ensuring internal peace just as his Bayelsa State counterpart, Douye Diri, is calling for better funding and equipping of the armed forces.
Governor Diri said this will serve as motivation for the military in the bid to end insurgency and insecurity in the country.
Diri was speaking at an interdenominational service to also mark the armed forces remembrance day in Yenagoa, his state capital.
His Spokesman, Daniel Alabrah, in a statement quotes his principal as saying that January 15 was set aside in Nigeria to remember fallen heroes of the First and Second World War as well as the Nigeria Civil War, noting that the society needs to also do enough in respecting the lives of every security personnel just as they honour the memories of fallen soldiers.
“The federal government is spending so much but we believe that they can still spend more in terms of equipment and better welfare for the personnel. I also want the federal government to look into the issue of insecurity in this country and accord it the necessary importance that it deserves.
“For me, it is a day to call upon the federal and state governments to look again at what we do and ensure that as leaders our watchword should be that of justice and equity. Much of the insurrection, the violence and the conflicts in Nigeria today are avoidable if only we respect justice and equity”, Diri said.
He saluted ex-servicemen that had gone through horrible experiences and thanked God for keeping them alive to witness another Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
The governor said their sacrifice and service to the nation, which include paying the supreme price, would not be in vain as his government would always recognise and celebrate them.
In his sermon, Chaplain of the King of Glory Chapel, Pastor David Yala, admonished personnel of the Armed Forces to realise that their mission is not for self-recognition but that of service to become a sacrificial citizen of the nation.
Citing the example of the late Major Isaac Adaka-Boro’s struggle for the people of the Niger Delta, the cleric called on armed security personnel to be passionate about their service to protect lives and property in order for their names to be written in the sands of time.
Present at the service were the wife of the governor, Dr. Gloria Diri, the deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Speaker of the state assembly, Abraham Ingobere and other lawmakers from the state and National Assembly as well as the Chief Judge, Mrs. Kate Abiri.
Others in attendance were service commanders in the state and members of the Nigerian Legion in the state.
However, in Port Harcourt, Bishop Ihunwo said Jesus knew there were spiritual and physical challenges confronting the people and he preached to the poor, liberated the prisoners of addiction, healed the blind and delivered the oppressed.
He wondered why most politicians make promises they cannot keep and become oppressors of the people by increasing sufferings. According to him, there is so much killing yet nobody has been brought to justice.
He pointed out that the hope of the people is failing because even the government is unable to protect life and property of the citizenry.
While stating that Nigerian leaders lack integrity, and as such, cannot promote equity, the bishop however, commended Governor Wike for embarking on massive infrastructural development across the State in fulfilment of his electoral promises to the people.
There were prayers of thanksgiving for God’s goodness to Nigerians, blessings for families of the fallen heroes, for the Federal Government, Rivers, the Nigeria legion and the armed forces.
At the interdenominational church service which held at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Port Harcourt on Sunday, Wike said while it is good to have a date annually to appreciate and recount the contributions of the Armed Forces in ensuring that the civil populace can enjoy peaceful country, the federal government should do more for them.
He said the one off contributions made on such remembrance day is never enough to cater for those who have suffered injuries while defending the country or the families left behind by those who paid the supreme sacrifice.
“It is not easy when people would say for the sake of this country we are willing to make sacrifices. They laid down their lives to protect us. While some of us will be sleeping, they are busy, fighting to defend the country, the sovereignty of this country.
“In the course of doing that, so many died, some get injured to the point they can’t be useful to themselves again all their life. You know how painful it is that a man goes to work with the hope that he’s coming back home, but the children are later told that they have lost their dad because he went to protect the country.
“So, we must have a special recognition for our fallen heroes and to those who are still in the Armed Forces fighting. See what is going one in Borno and Yobe states and all over the country; banditry, and insurgency.
“So, for us, we think that government should come up with something concrete that when they go out and fight, their families will know that there is something their parents have kept that will cater for their children”, Governor Wike said.