The National Chairman, Nigerian Legion, retired Brig.-Gen. Adakole Akpa, says the legion is committed to uplifting the nation’s ex-servicemen out of hardship through its various programmes.
Akpa stated this in an interview with the News agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday shortly after the Wreaths Laying ceremony to mark the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
He said that the legion was established by an Act of Parliament in 1962 to take care of the welfare and other needs of those who fought and sacrificed their lives for the nation.
Akpa said that the body had been engaged in diverse businesses such as agriculture, agro allied businesses, transportation among others to empower its members economically.
He said that the desire to move ex-servicemen from alms begging to entrepreneurship had been the focus of the legion under his leadership, adding that it was in partnership with different organisations to achieve this.
According to him, it is imperative as composed in the national anthem that the labour of the fallen heroes should not be in vein.
“We have programmes such as scholarship for children of the slain personnel, agriculture and agro allied industries are areas that we are engaging in like transportation – air land and sea and so many other things.
“In the legion, all the businesses that you can think of are there and we have partnerships both internally and externally that will take us to the next height so that in future we will fulfill our mandate.
“We have partners like the British Royal Army in terms of providing succour so that we will be seen as strugglers.
“Before we came on board, the Nigerian legion hardly had an address but today we have a website and we know where everybody is and their status.
“That is why we are telling everybody to link up with the legion because it is the only one that can take care of their needs,’’ he said.
The chairman commended President Muhammadu Buhari, for his commitment to alleviating the suffering of ex-servicemen as well as the widows and children of the fallen heroes.
He said that the government had shown serious commitment to the payment of their pensions as and when due, adding that all issues relating to the legion had been taken to the front burner.
According to him, the legion actually consist of all the members of the armed forces who fought in the first world war, second world war, other wars, UN and other peace keeping operations all over the world.
“It is made up of those in the Army, Navy and Air Force who had given their lives for humanity,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the President, Military Widows Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Mrs Veronica Aluko, has called on well meaning Nigerians and corporate organisations to support the association in its quest to empower its members.
Aluko said the government and the military had done a lot to support the widows and their children, adding that the association was desirous of making its members to be self reliant.
She said that solid foundation had been laid by the association to ensure that military widows and their wards were not left to struggle in the area of education and health care. (NAN)