Tinubu Awards National Honours To Slain Officers, Soldiers

President Bola Tinubu paid tribute to the 17 officers and soldiers slain by criminals in Okuama, Delta State, hailing them as patriotic and courageous individuals. Addressing attendees at the burial ceremony held in Abuja, the president emphasized that the fallen military personnel had made the ultimate sacrifice in safeguarding the nation against both internal and external dangers.

Tinubu underscored the significance of their sacrifice, asserting that their deaths serve as a unifying force for Nigerians to unite in unequivocally condemning crime and criminal activities. Their bravery and dedication to duty exemplify the commitment of Nigeria’s armed forces to upholding peace and security within the nation’s borders.

As the nation mourns the loss of these valiant servicemen, President Tinubu’s words of tribute resonate as a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made by members of the military in the defense of their country. Their memory serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing struggle against crime and underscores the collective responsibility of all Nigerians to stand against threats to the nation’s well-being and prosperity.

The president said: “They went as peacemakers and peacekeepers, seeking to bring an end to the hostilities between the two communities.

“They didn’t go with tanks, machine guns and other weapons. They were on a mission of peace.”

“The officers and soldiers who lost their lives that day were patriots, brave and noble men who gave their lives to defend and protect our nation against internal and external threats.”

The 17 military personnel killed on March 14 were Lt.-Col. Ali, Maj. D.E Obi, Maj. S.D. Ashafa, Capt. U. Zakari, Staff Sgt. Yahaya Saidu, Corporal Danbaba Yahaya, Corporal Kabir Bashir, Lance Corporal Abdullahi Ibrahim, Lance Corporal Bulus Haruna, Lance Corporal Sole Opeyemi, and Lance Corporal Bello Anas.

The rest are Private Alhaji Isah, Private Clement Francis, Private Abubakar Ali, Private Adamu Ibrahim, Private Hamman Peter, and Private Ibrahim Adamu.

Tinubu said the deceased have all been awarded posthumous national honours.

“The four gallant officers have been awarded Member of the Order of Niger (MON) and the 13 courageous soldiers who also lost their lives have been Awarded Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) Medals.”

“As Commander-In-Chief, I do not take the contributions of members of our Armed Forces for granted. I recognise your valour and bravery.”

“I honour your unflinching commitment to making our country safe from criminals, bandits, kidnappers and insurrectionists,” he added.

The president urged the officers and men of the military not to be deterred by the setbacks and to continue to work for peace and harmony in the country.

Tinubu also called on Nigerians to rededicate themselves to rebuilding communities and making them places where love, tolerance and harmony reign.

“Leaders at all levels, especially community leaders and traditional rulers, must work to strengthen the bonds that unite us. We must end the cycle of violence and bloodletting.”

“I want to make it clear, once more, that those who committed this heinous crime will not go unpunished. We will find them and our departed heroes will get justice.”

“The elders and chiefs of Okuoma also must help the military in fishing out the gunmen who committed the barbaric crime against our men,” the president stated.

He commended the armed forces for choosing not to carry out any reprisal attacks in Okuoma or its neighbouring communities.

He said that the government would provide a house in any part of the country to each of the families of the four officers and 13 soldiers.

Tinubu added that all the children of the deceased would enjoy the Federal Government’s scholarships up to the university level.

The president also directed the military to ensure that all the benefits of the slain personnel are paid to their families within 90 days.