Wife of the President, Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, has paid glowing tributes to personnel of the Nigerian armed forces for their sacrifices in securing the Nigerian nation.
Mrs. Buhari said Nigerians can never pay for the risk military officers were putting lives for the survival of the country.
Mrs. Buhari, who went emotional, while speaking at the opening of a two-day national conference, organised by the Defence and Police Officers’ Wives Association (DEPOWA), held at the National Defence College, Abuja, said “We owe you from the depth of our hearts.”
Represented by the wife of the vice president, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, Mrs. Buhari, who described military personnel as ‘great men’ who signed up to die for the country, equally commended their wives for the roles in supporting their spouses by maintaining the home front, saying their roles were boosters to the successes they were recording.
According to her, “It is a great man that that can sign up for a job that can take his life. We owe such depth of gratitude which can never be repaid.”
She called on women to join in the efforts to find lasting solution to the numerous security challenges confronting the country.
Mrs. Buhari, who was the special guest of honour at the opening of a two-day conference, with a theme: ‘The role of Defence and Police Officers Wives in National Defence, Peace and Way Forward’, said her advice to women was because “women are known as the ones that are able to encourage and gently assist.”
“I like us as women to encourage the men in unity and love.
“Speak to them the way our mothers speak to us, let’s dialogue, let’s talk about it, let’s find a middle ground, let’s agree so that we won’t have war (crises), “she added.
Describing wives of military personnel, especially members of the DEPOWA as great women, the president’s wife said, “Women that are wives of officers are great women. They are great women, only a great man can sign up for a job that may take his life.”
She said “A man that faces life and death everyday; face with sorrow, faced with solitary life, sees the worst of human beings, only a great woman can be married to such a man.
“I know that the women of DEPOWA are great. They are the ones that handle the nightmare that the men have, they are the ones that handle the anger of the men.
“Their frustrations, fear, their pains of separation from colleagues,’’ she said and called for assistance for the organisation.
“I want to encourage that those that help those who helps us also need help.
“The better and quality of help that officers and men of the armed forces and police have, the better they can defend the nation.’’
In his address at the occasion the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, said that one of the issues that affected the performances of the military and other security agencies globally was the welfare of their families.
Olonisakin, represented by the Chief of Defence Policy and Plans, Air Vice Marshal Emmanuel Anebi, said due to the nature of military profession, they spend many years in deployment away from their families.
“The assurance that the establishment is concerned about their socio-economic and educational empowerment of their spouses and children, respectively enhances the morale of our officers and men.
“It is gratifying that the DEPOWA has risen up and taken up the challenge of giving a helping hand to military and police families in our barracks.’’
Also speaking, DEPOWA, President and wife of Chief of Defence Staff, Mrs Omobolanle Olanisakin, charged the military authorities to grant the association to use August 16, every year to celebrate what she referred to as ‘DEPOWA Day’.
She also called for the institutionalisation of the association as a way to underscore the importance role it play in national security.
“Permit me to say that an important step in understanding the huge and important contribution of military and police spouses and families make to Nigeria’s national security is to understand their experiences and perspective as spouses and families.
“We cannot do this on one-off exercise. We need to undertake this on a more institutionalised and sustained basis.
“We need a think-tank to, on a sustained and empirical basis, study military and police families so as to avail relevant policy and other stakeholders timely, relevant and credible information showing areas of critical needs of military families as it affects the defence establishment.”
She said the objective can be achieved through a centre for military and family research.