‘We’ll try our best for your welfare‘ -Hon. Uko

With you, Etinan has arrived’ – Legionnaires to Council Chairman

By Our Correspondent

The 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance Day was rounded off in Etinan on Monday with the laying of wreaths at the cenotaph of the unknown soldiers who laid down their lives while fighting for peace and unity of Nigeria. The event preceded a special thanksgiving service held at the Qua Iboe Church, Efa Town on Sunday, January 14.

The event was attended by crème de la crème of past and present political office holders of Etinan extraction, security functionaries, Legionnaires, Royal Fathers, clergies and notable indigenes of the area.

In his address at the annual event, Chairman of Etinan Local Government Council, Hon. Uko Umoh pledged his continued support for the welfare and well-being of retired Officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces as well their survivors.

Hon. Uko said “I am pleased to welcome you on behalf of Etinan Local Government Council to this wreath-laying ceremony which is the culmination of activities marking the 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance day  held across our nation, Nigeria. 

“As usual, this annual event begun with the launch of the Armed Forces emblem and appeal fund by the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Bola Tinubu. In our dear State, our amiable Governor, His Excellency, Pastor Umo Eno, launched the 2024 emblem and appeal fund earlier this month and acknowledged the great sacrifices made by our heroes to defend and safeguard the sovereignty of our nation.

At the emblem launch, the Governor said, the remembrance of our fallen heroes becomes imperative because a lot of people put their lives on the line and went through excruciating ordeals all for the safety of our nation. We have relied on our armed forces to tame militancy, terrorism, and banditry in our nation; in other words, we still have a united and indivisible nation today, and it is due to the sacrificial works of our Armed Forces”.

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Speaking on the significance of the remembrance, the Council Boss, himself a son of a departed soldier continued “This remembrance is the least we can do in acknowledgement of all the sacrifices the brave, patriotic, fallen heroes made for the collective good of our nation and people. Yesterday, Sunday 14th January, I had the honour of leading the Council, Legionnaires, Leaders and the great people of Etinan to a church service at Qua Iboe Church, Efa, to pray for the repose of the souls of our brethren in the Armed Forces who paid the supreme price for our country.

” We interceded for their families and loved one. We prayed for the healing and quick recovery of all of those who suffered grievous harms beyond physical injuries that left permanent scars on their body but eternal psychological trauma. We also prayed for God’s protection for our gallant soldiers who are currently involved in different military operations seeking to curb insurgency, terrorism, and other crimes, and build sustainable peace in all parts of our nation”.

Hon. Uko Umoh also used the occasion to acknowledge indigenes of the area who are currently contributing to the safety and security of Nigeria.

He said “As we remember our fallen heroes and celebrate their gallantry, Etinan Local Government Council is pleased to celebrate one of our sons in the Nigerian Army, Mr Wisdom Benjamin Etuk, who was recently promoted to the rank of Major General. Major General W.B. Etuk is an expert in military logistics management. 

He was the 15th Commandant of the Nigerian Army College of Logistics Management, NACOLM, and had served at the 70 Command Supply and Transport, Apapa, Lagos. The Transition Committee had sent warm felicitations to him on his promotion. We told him that we are proud of his many in-service awards and sterling leadership records. The Council is using this event to celebrate other indigenes of Etinan in the Armed Forces, wishing them God’s protection and a successful career. 

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Our dear Legionnaires, today is for you. We celebrate your life, courage, bravery, patriotism, sacrifice and statesmanship. The government at all levels will continue to do its utmost best to improve your welfare. However, I want to encourage you to also pay attention to your wives, children and others who depend on you. Your wives and children deserve care. Invest in them. I am saying this against the background of cases of withdrawal of care and support, neglect and abandonment of spouses and children by some Legionnaires despite still being capable to cater for them.  

I urge the Legionnaires to please lend their experiences to the new community-based security outfit, Neighbourhood Watch, and the Ministry of Internal Security and Waterways, created by the  State Government. One of the pivots of the ARISE AGENDA of His Excellency, Pastor Umo Eno, is security and sustenance of peace. I appeal to Legionnaires to please volunteer their experiences in this regard. 

Let me us this opportunity to thank the Chairman of Nigerian Legion, Etinan Local Government Area and indeed all Legionnaires in Etinan for making this event successful. Rest assured that the Council will pay attention to the welfare of her senior citizens especially those who were selfless and outstanding in their services to our fatherland”.

Speaking earlier on behalf of the Legionnaires, Cpt. Michael Ukpong (Rtd) solicited for support for the retired Officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces whom he said sacrificed their safeties and lives for the protection of the country and her citizens.

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In his Vote of thanks, the Secretary, Nigerian Legion, Etinan Area Council, Lt. Imo Udoiweh (Rtd) thanked the Local Government Council Chairman for demonstrating his concerns towards the welfare of the Legionnaires and their dependants. He also commended Hon. Umoh’s leadership style, noting that the area was in for better days.

“By this singular act, it can be said that Etinan Local Government has actually arrived and is set to regain her pride of place in the scheme of things. We wish you good success, Sir” Etinan Legion Secretary, Lt. Imo Udoiweh

Highpoints of the event were parade of honour, gunshot salute, laying of wreaths by the Council Chairman, DPO, Etinan, Paramount Ruler and the Ag. Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Etinan Area Council as well as launch of the 2024 Armed Forces Emblem.

Among dignitaries who graced the occasion were the member representing Etinan State Constituency, Hon. Uduak Ufot; Etinan Vice Chairman, Hon. Imaobong Michael; the SSA to the Governor on Project Monitoring, Hon. Udo Jonathan; PDP State Auditor, Prince Ibanga Udofia and a former Chairman of Etinan, Obong Donald Uko.

Others were Council Secretary, Hon. Lawrencia Etuk, SA on Youth to the Chairman and former Legislative Leader, Hon. Item Etuk; former Council Secretary, Hon. Emmanuel Titus and Retired Permanent Secretary and Obong Billy Etuk.

Also in attendance were Head of Service, Mrs. Mercy Ntekim; Chief of Staff to the Chairman, Pastor Ubong Inyang; Honourable Supervisors, PAs to the Governor of Etinan extraction, other serving and former political office holders, members of the Nigerian Legion and a host of others.