Tinubu awards national honours to 17 slain military personnel, announces welfare package for families

Adebari Oguntoye
Adebari Oguntoye
Remains of the slain soldiers

President Bola Tinubu has awarded posthumous national honours to the 17 soldiers killed in Okuama community in Delta State about two weeks ago.

The president also promised scholarships and houses to the families of the military personnel.

President Tinubu announced the gesture on Tuesday during the burial of the slain military personnel at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja.

They were killed on March 17 while on a peace mission to Okuama in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

The soldiers are A. Ali, a lieutenant colonel and commander of the team; SD Shafa and DE Obi, both majors; and U Zakari, a captain.

The others are Yahaya Saidu, a staff sergeant; Danbaba Yahaya and Kabir Bashir, both corporals; Abdullahi Ibrahim, Bulus Haruna, Sole Opeyemi and Bello Anas, all lance corporals.

Alhaji Isah, Clement Francis, Abubakar Ali, Adamu Ibrahim, Hamman Peter, and Ibrahim Adamu, all privates, were also murdered.

President Tinubu said while the four officers were honoured with Member of the Order of Niger (MON), the 13 soldiers were awarded the Officer of the Federal Republic Medal.

“Each man now belongs to the hallowed list of servicemen and women who defended our country and protected their fellow Nigerians, not minding the risk to their own lives.

“They have all been awarded posthumous national honours. The four gallant Officers have been accorded the Award of Member of the Order of Niger (MON). The thirteen courageous soldiers who also lost their lives have been awarded the Officer of the Federal Republic Medal,” he said.

President Tinubu said the federal government would provide houses for the families of the deceased military personnel and scholarships for all their children up to the university level.

“The Federal Government will provide a house in any part of our country to each of the families of the four officers and 13 soldiers.

“The federal government has also approved scholarships for all the children of the deceased, up to the university level,” he said.

He also ordered the military to ensure that the families get the benefits and entitlements due to them.

“The military must, within the next 90 days, ensure that all the benefits of the departed are paid to their families,” he said.

President Tinubu said, “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 said the military demonstrated restraint by not carrying out reprisal attacks against the communities where the incident happened.

He urged the military not to allow the deaths of the 17 men to demoralise them.

“I wish to also commend our Armed Forces for their restraint in choosing not to carry out any reprisal attacks in Okuoma or its neighbouring communities.

“We must all ensure that the innocent people of Okuoma are not made to bear the punishment of the guilty and wicked among them. To the entire Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I have a message for you. Do not let the deaths of your compatriots discourage you.

“There is no higher honour than the vocation you have chosen to pursue. We cherish you. We cherish your labour of love.

“We salute your daily sacrifice in protecting your fellow citizens from danger. We acknowledge your sacrifices to defend our nation,” he said.

Some of the guests at the burial include the Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas.

Others are Governors Sheriff Oborevwori (Delta), Duoye Diri (Bayelsa), Usman Ododo (Kogi), Uba Sani (Kaduna), Hope Uzodimma (Imo), and Abba Yusuf (Kano).


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