By Josephine Oguntoyinbo & Chris Chimezie
As a way of cushioning the effect of the untimely death of their breadwinners, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), yesterday presented cheques of N100,000 each to widows of deceased soldiers in the state.
Akeredolu who made the presentation during the parade and wreath-laying to commemorate the 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration in Akure, expressed gratitude to serving and retired officers particularly those who paid the supreme price in the defence of the nation and its unity.
At the annual celebration held at the Cenotaph, Alagbaka Akure, the Governor opined that no amount of money could be enough to replace lost lives, but that the token given to the widows was to cushion the impact of immediate challenges they might be facing.
He explained that the event was another opportunity to remember fallen heroes and pay special attention to the welfare of the immediate families and dependants of the fallen heroes.
The governor further thanked security agencies for their efforts at providing security for the citizens of the state.
“Recently, operation ‘Egwu Eke III’ was launched in the state to address our security challenges. This was not unconnected with the incessant cases of kidnapping, armed robbery and ritual killings in parts of the state.
“We have started to see the effect of this exercise as all these crime prone areas have been quiet.
“As part of our efforts to completely stem the tide of insecurity, very soon, we shall be providing additional new operation vehicles for our security agencies for adequate, effective and efficient patrol of the state.
“We encourage individual and corporate organisations to assist in bringing smiles to the faces of this category of persons who have become vulnerable because of the loss of their breadwinners,” he said.
Also, chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Ondo State chapter, Col Olubodun Apata (rtd), described the event as colorful considering the fact that they are alive to witness it.
He particularly commended Governor Akeredolu for making their welfare one of his top priorities by fulfilling all promises he made to them.
“Two weeks ago, the Governor also promised to provide the Legion with a vehicle to ease our movements and to our consternation, the brand new Hilux Van has just been presented to us. I thank him for standing by his words and we are indeed, very proud of him”, he said.
The Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Women Affairs, Mrs Titi Adeyemi said the day is significant as the Armed Forces has been trying their best in various peace support operations worldwide.
Mrs Adeyemi who noted that government would continue to appreciate the struggle of the brave soldiers, prayed to God to reward their efforts and take care of the familiies left behind.
According to her, the Cheque given to the beneficiaries was based on recommendation without any discrimination.
The Imam of 32 Artillery Brigade, Abdulfatah Mohammed posited that taking care of families and widows of the fallen heroes is the best way to appreciate the gallant soldiers saying anyone who help the set of people will receive the reward from Allah.
While urging the windows to take care of children of the deceased so that they can be successful, he stressed the need for the beneficiaries to use the money judiciously to raise their status.
The Chaplain of Owena cantonment, Reverend Fr Ohuma Jones also commended the Armed Forces for their selfless service, calling on government at all levels to take care of them as a way of rewarding their efforts .
In an interview with The Hope shortly after the event, the coordinator of Widows Association in the barracks, Mrs Roseline Alarape affirmed that the present administration in the state has really tried for them through various relieved packages for it’s association.
To her, the cheques given to the 30 widows whom their husbands just died last year will go a long way to alleviate their suffering.
Mrs Ramatu Momoh, one of the beneficiaries informed that since her husband died last year during an operation, she has not received any help.”I have been suffering alone with my children. But today, to my greatest surprise, I was given this cheque, I will use the money to start petty trading .I am elated.”
Also speaking was Mrs Asabe Danladi who said the money came at the right time because his twin daughters were returning to school and she needed over two hundred thousand naira.
Another beneficiary, Mrs Binta Dipo appreciate God for the lives of the fallen heroes and for sustaining those they left behind.
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