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One way: Military Veterans Slam Sanwo-Olu, Threaten To Boycott Remembrance Day

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Military veterans have bemoaned the treatment meted out to a serving soldier arrested by the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Sanwo-Olu had on January 2 ordered the arrest of a soldier and three other motorcyclists for driving against traffic on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.

In the video, Sanw-Olu said, “Arrest him, arrest him! Take him into your vehicle, you are telling me you are a soldier and that is the more reason I am going to lock you up. Get inside there, useless boy! You are telling me you are a soldier.”

Afterwards, an unidentified soldier in a viral video lampooned the governor for labelling a soldier as ‘useless.’

However, the veterans under the aegis of the Coalition of Concerned Veterans, in a letter addressed to the governor dated January 10, a copy which was obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday, noted that the governor’s actions portrayed the military as “useless” to both the country and its citizens.

The letter, signed by the coalition’s spokesperson, Abiodun Durowaiye-Herberts, stated that the soldiers on the frontline, as well as retired personnel, were displeased with the action of the governor.

The letter partly read, “The attention of the Coalition of Concerned (Military) Veterans, an amalgamation of Military Veterans Associations and pressure groups has been drawn to an embarrassing viral video trending all over the social media between the Governor and some residents of Lagos along the Badary/Ojo Expressway.

“To us, members of the Veterans Community, the unfortunate incident, your action, and reaction, is an acknowledgement that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are ‘useless’ to Nigeria and Nigerians. It has deeply affected the psyche and morale of both the frontline soldiers and the retired officers and men of the Armed Forces.

“It is unthinkable that come January 15, 2023, Your Excellency will be expected to superintend over a parade that will be mounted by some of the direct products of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

“Our collective identity as represented by the soldier was brutally demeaned by your statement and by extension, the sanctity of discipline the Armed Forces of Nigeria represents.”

The veterans described the soldier as a symbol of their common identity and “your statement is not only to him but to the entire Armed Forces of Nigeria.”

The letter added that the military veterans were planning to prevent the Armed Forces Remembrance Day from being held in the state to express their anger on the incident.

“While not completely exonerating the soldier from blame, at the moment, there is widespread annoyance and anger within the Veterans Community to not only prevent the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration from being held in Lagos but to completely boycott participation in any activity planned towards the forthcoming event as a way of showing our misgivings because of the way the issue was mishandled”, the letter added.

Durowaiye-Herberts asked the governor to apologise to the Amed Forces and the veterans before January 15.

He added, “Your Excellency, your timely show of regret is expedient to calm frayed nerves of the psychological injuries from those unfortunate verbal expressions; to give peace a chance and allow the Veterans Community to once again be reassured of the government’s effort to making the sacrifices of both serving and retired members of the Nigerian Armed Forces well appreciated.”


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