On the 15th of January every year, Nigeria commerates the impeccable and crucial work of the Nigerian Armed Forces (NAF). This day is specially created to eulogize the valiant efforts of our military men and women in the protection of the territorial integrity of the country and those who lost their lives in this noble cause. Undeniably, the work of the Nigerian Armed Forces- The Nigerian Army, The Nigerian Navy, The Nigerian Air force – plays a significant role in national development and is the only wall standing between Nigeria and the nefarious plans of non-state actors poised at putting the country in total anarchy. It is therefore of outmost importance that these heroes are at the fulcrum of the country’s policies, laws and most importantly put.on the pedestal for awards, encouragement, rewards and ceremonies in celebration of their good deeds towards national peace and security. Historically, The Armed Forces Rememberance Day (AFRD) was created when Nigeria was still a British colony. It was set aside to celebrate soliders lost in the World War 1 and World War 2 respectively. Being addressed as the poppy day under the British Empire, this day was celebrated on the 11th of January and after Nigerian’s independence, she left the normal day set aside by the Commonwealth and put it on the 15th of January. This was after Philip Effiong, declared the end of the secession attempt in the creation of the Biafra state which threatened Nigeria’s peace, security and most importantly her unity as a nation. By handing over a symbol of peace to the then Head of State, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, and total denouncement of the existence of such a state on the 15th of January ,1970, it enthroned it as a landmark event which thereafter was set aside to mourn the lost heroes who fought to protect the unity of the country we have today during the civil war.
Interestingly, this day has held consistently over the years and is never without so much colour and glamour. The planning of this event is given so much attention, as 2 months prior to the event,a 25-man planning committee is set aside to organize it. Military parades are a noteworthy part of the national program as the guard of honour of the Nigerian Armed Forces- The Nigerian Army, The Nigerian Navy, The Nigerian Air force- showcase great skill on this is occasion. The peak of this event is when the president lays the wreath on the national cenotaph to.pay his last respects and to commerates the fallen heroes lost in the civil war, peacekeeping missions and various national assignments.
Finally, every Nigerian should learn the lesson of patriotism and selflessness through these men and ensure that the labours of our father’s past should never be in vain. They should endeavor to put the country above themselves and be ready to pay the ultimate price in defending the country if situations warrant such. Also, families of those lost should adequately be taken care of and the welfare and stipends of those serving should be increased to engender productivity. Let the legacy of these heroes live on and guide us to a better Nigeria, in conduct, deed and in works. God bless the Nigerian Armed Forces.