Armed Forces Remembrance Day: Food vendor embarks on Lagos to Abuja trek
A 38-year-old food vendor from Benue, Ejeh Dangogo, on Monday said that he would embark on an 800km trek from Lagos to Abuja in honour of Nigeria’s fallen heroes.
Dangogo said this during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebrations which held at Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos Island, Lagos.
According to Dangogo, the trek, which is to commence today, is to draw the National Assembly’s attention to the plight of the Nigerian Armed Forces to see how they could improve the welfare of the armed forces.
“I have been preparing for this journey for the past five years and I am physically, mentally and psychologically fit to do so.
“The rate at which soldiers are dying of terminal diseases as a result of lack of proper welfare is worrisome,” he said.
Dangogo said that he was moved to embark on this journey because he grew up in the barracks and saw how some soldiers suffer from illness and die from terminal illnesses.
“I am passionate about humanity and also passionate about the Nigerian Armed Forces because my dad was a military man. I have spent most of my life in the barracks.
“I am going to do this to draw Nigerians’ consciousness to the selfless sacrifice of our armed forces because it seems like their sacrifice have been going unacknowledged,” the food vendor said.
He thanked Mr George Adegeye representing Amuwo Odofin Constituency for his support and agreement to receive him in Abuja with the Chief of Defence Staff.
“I have a tracking system where I can be tracked in real time and I can also be tracked through social media handles where I will be uploading events frequently.
“The journey will take me 5 weeks of 24km daily,” the food vendor said.
Dangogo also thanked those who give soldiers’ car lift when they see them by the road side, saying that it was also a way of honouring the armed forces.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, acknowledged the efforts of fallen heroes while commiserating with the family of ex-servicemen who paid the supreme price in the course of duty.
Sanwo-Olu said that Jan. 15 was a day set aside annually to honour and appreciate the lives and family of those who died for the country.
“It is an occasion where the nation all come together to recognise and acknowledge all of our fallen heroes that indeed served the country in one form or the other for decades.
“It is a day to continue to remember them, their families and the loved ones they left behind.
“It is a day to continue to pray for the repose of our fallen heroes and to continue to commit their families into God’s hand,” the governor said.
Sanwo-Olu noted that today was also a significant day for serving officers to know that the country would continue to appreciate their gallant officers while alive or even after they had passed on.
“It has become a day of national significance that everybody must honour them, appreciate them and wish them well and continue to encourage them,” the governor said.
A representative of the Lagos State Military Widows, Mrs Oluwaseyi Iliya, the wife of late Maj. Yerula Iliya, appealed to the government for more recognition of widows in subsequent armed forces day celebrations.
She said that widows of the fallen heroes should be more recognised than they were presently.
Iliya said that this was because it was their husbands who fought earnestly and paid the ultimate price for the nation.
“The kind of attention given to us widows on a day like this is not welcoming.
“We are passing through a lot and on a day like this we need to be really consoled and commiserated with but it’s quite unfortunate.
“I pray that next year’s celebrations will be far better than this,” Iliya said.
She appealed to the government to assist widows more in the area of livelihood because they were having challenges in catering for their families.
“We have young widows that can still be recruited into any of the forces. Our children can be given slots in any of the forces at least as a replacement for their fathers.
“This will go a long way to help us as their mothers and their siblings as well.
“I pray that God will continue to give the government the intellect and wisdom to know how they can help us better,” Iliya said.
The Chairman, Nigerian Legion, Lagos State Chapter, Mr Akeem Wolimoh, said that occasions like this gave opportunity to the legion to solicit for funds to meet the needs of needy ex-servicemen.
“It is our statutory responsibility to ensure that the needs of ex-servicemen, especially the aged ones, the sick and the dependants of those who have died while in the service, are met,” he said.
Wolimoh thanked the Lagos State Government for what they had been doing for the legion in terms of providing palliatives for their members and the families of the deceased.