Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, has donated N200 million for the renovation of Wellington Bassey Barracks, Ibagwa in Abak Local Government Area of the state.
Emmanuel made the donation at the 2017 West African Social Activity (WASA) held in the barracks on Saturday.
The governor expressed his appreciation to the Nigerian Army for its contributions in providing the security of lives and property in the state.
He said the soldiers that were toiling day and night to keep peace in the country deserved a better place to stay with their families, adding, “we have enjoyed a whole lot of cooperation in terms of security.
“Through this barracks, they (Soldiers) have help us to actually keep peace within the community and Akwa Ibom State.
“Through this barracks, they have been able to enforce discipline in so many quarters, it will not be wise for me to be here as a governor, and just leave this barracks without our signature.
“We will make available to you almost immediately the sum of N200 million.
“So that you can actually look at the quarters that you want to renovate.
He, however, urged the Commander 2 Brigade to pay attention on areas that would touch the lives of children and women in the barracks.
Emmanuel commended the Chief of Army Staff, the GOC 6 Division and the Commander 2 Brigade for upholding the WASA tradition.
He also lauded the army for the high level of training given to the soldiers irrespective of gender, adding that he was impressed to see the performance of the female tug of war during the ceremony.
He said, “let me appreciate the Nigerian Army for what I am seeing today, you could not differentiate the strength of the men from the women.
“It shows the adequacy and capacity of the training that we are building through human resources.”
The governor appealed to residents of the barracks to live in peace with one another irrespective of ethnic or religious differences.
Earlier, the Commander 2 Brigade Nigerian Army, Brig. Gen. Abdu Hassan, said that WASA was an accepted age long tradition of the army in getting officers’ families and friends together in a social and conducive atmosphere.
The commander traced the origin of WASA to the period of West African Frontier Force, where persons in the society whose ancestral background with some traditional and customary heritage started joining the army.
According to him, sacrifices were usually offered at the end of the harvest and beginning of planting season to their gods for bounty harvest.
He said during these periods, delegates were usually sent to military authorities to release soldiers for the yearly rituals.
Hassan explained that instead of the military continuing to release soldiers to go for the yearly rituals, the military authority incorporated into the army activities and coined it WASA.
He commended Gov. Emmanuel for personally honouring the invitation, while thanking the Chief of Army Staff for giving approval for the Brigade to host the WASA 2017.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that highpoint of the event was award of prizes to soldiers who performed gallantly in 2017.
Also, the ceremony featured tug of war and cultural dances from the barracks community.