WASA: Defence Minister Harps on Preservation of Cultural Heritage
…Lauds Guards Brigade for Professionalism, Diligence
The Minister of State for Defence, Dr. Bello Muhammed Matawalle, has commended the Guards Brigade of the Nigerian Army for their diligence and professional conduct in serving the nation.
Matawalle gave the commendation at the Guards Brigade West African Social Activities (WASA) 2023, held at the Guards Brigade Garrison Mambila Barracks, Abuja.
The Minister, while commending the Commander Guards Brigade and his team for excellent work, charged them to aim for greatness and excellence in discharging their duties.
He averred that the diversity of experiences, skills, and talents of officers and soldiers of the Brigade is an asset to the Nigerian Army and the nation.
“I am confident that the Guards Brigade will rise to the challenges of their duties and keep the flag flying at all times. I believe that your dedication to duty will encourage and motivate other soldiers elsewhere to emulate your exemplary efforts. I also thank you all, not just for your service to this great country but for reminding us why Nigeria will always be a great nation,” he stated.
Tasking them on their primary duty to the Presidency, the Federal Capital Territory, and its environs, the Minister opined that their unwavering loyalty, sacrifices, and hard work were appreciated. “Your hard work in planning and managing the security threats in the Federal Capital Territory has ensured the safety of not only Mr. President but that of other citizens, visitors, and diplomats.
In his remarks, Commander Guards Brigade Colonel Adebisi Onasanya noted that WASA is a prominent regimental event in the Nigerian Army because of its socio-cultural value to personnel.
“The identity, values, beliefs, and rich cultural heritage of the people of Nigeria are reflected in the diversity and unity among the personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, as demonstrated through our traditions. Hence, in order to preserve our cultural heritage, WASA gives us the opportunity to display our various traditional dances, cuisines, languages, and dresses, among others, in a relaxed atmosphere.”
On the security situation in the country, Col. Onasanya said that the Brigade is very aware of the security challenges in the nation, particularly the FCT. “We have been working very hard to ensure that we counter those challenges, especially those around Bwari, Abaji, and Kuje Area Councils. I can assure you that as we speak, we have our troops deployed already, taking position, and wherever those criminals are, we will locate and sniff them out.”
Highlights of the event were the tour of units and garrison stands, cultural display, children’s sack race, taekwondo display, tug of war, beating of retreat, and lighting of the Born Fire by the Honourable Minister.
Officers and soldiers who distinguished themselves in the line of duty were also given commendation awards.
The Honourable Minister donated a car to support WASA 2023. In addition, the donated car was won in the lucky dip raffle draw competition at the event by Mariam Ibrahim.
Several other lucky winners went home with various gifts, ranging from vegetable oil to bags of rice, a grinding machine, a television set, and a cow sponsored by the organisers.
The event was graced by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, the NAOWA National President, Mrs. Mariya Abiodun Lagbaja, former Force Commander MNJTF Major General Abdul Khalifa Ibrahim, traditional rulers, the business community, and members of the diplomatic corps.
The West African Social Activities (WASA) is an annual event organised by the Nigerian Army to celebrate the diverse and rich cultural heritage of our great country. The annual event brings together officers, soldiers, and their families in a relaxed atmosphere to celebrate and mark the end of the year’s activities.
WASA’s origin dates back to the Second World War period, when the indigenous Nigerian Army Frontier celebrated their cultural heritage at the end of every year. Since its institutionalisation by the colonial authorities, the Nigerian Army has sustained and made it a recurring feature annually.