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*COAS Commends Bayelsa Gov For Support To Military

Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, on Wednesday, paid his last respects to the four officers and 13 Nigerian Army personnel killed in Okuama community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State on March 14 by yet to be identified gunmen.

The remains of the 17 soldiers were interred at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja at a solemn funeral attended by President Bola Tinubu, Deputy Senate President, Jibril Barau, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, the governors of Bayelsa, Delta, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi and Kwara states as well as the service chiefs.

Senator Diri laid a wreath in honour of the slain soldiers at the burial ceremony.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, who appreciated Governor Diri and his colleagues for attending the event, equally commended the Bayelsa governor for his support to the military and the Nigerian Army in particular.

Describing the killing of the soldiers as barbaric, Gen. Lagbaja lamented that it was a tough job to send out his men in harm’s way, knowing that some of them would not come back.

He said: “Ours is a profession that deals with matters of life and death. When soldiers die in the hands of the enemies of the state, we take it as dying for what the nation has considered a just cause. We celebrate them as gallant heroes.

“But when they are gruesomely murdered by the very people they are trained, equipped and took an oath to protect, it is highly demoralising.

“I consider it the most barbaric act any citizen or community can commit against the authority of the state, and I must place on record that a lot of restraints have been exercised so far in our search and recovery efforts for missing arms, ammunition, other equipment, and body parts.”

While commiserating with the families of the soldiers, the army chief said the Nigerian Army would do all within its power to provide succour to them and preserve the memories of the departed personnel.

President Tinubu, in his remarks, announced posthumous national honours of the Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) on the four officers and the Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) on the 13 other personnel.

He also offered scholarship up to the university level for the children of the deceased, including the ones “in the womb” as well as promised housing for their families in any part of the country.

The Bayelsa State delegation included Senator Konbowei Benson, House of Representatives members – Fred Agbedi (Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency), Rodney Ambaiowei (Southern Ijaw) and Ofoji Oboku (Yenagoa/Kolokuma/Opokuma) as well as retired Generals John Ogidi, Henry Ayamasa and Eric Angaye, and the Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom, King Bubaraye Dakolo.

Daniel Alabrah

Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa State Governor

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