Member of the 50 Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) have reaffirmed their loyalty and commitment to the Nigerian state and to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
The Chairman of 50th Regular Course Cooperative, Col. Abba Umar, gave the assurance on Saturday during a fitness exercise to mark the 20th Anniversary/Reunion in Abuja.
The fitness exercise which took place at the Aguyi Ironsi Cantonment Sports Arena in Asokoro is part of activities lined up by the group to commemorate the 20 years of their departure from NDA.
Umar said the event marked the first time they were reuniting since 20 years after they left the NDA, adding that they decide to bring their families along to bond with one other.
“We are reaffirming our loyalty to the Nigerian state and to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
“We are soldiers and it is our paramount duty to pledge our alloyed loyalty to the Commander-in-Chief as well as Nigerian states,” he said.
Umar said the event afforded them the opportunity to reconnect as colleagues and to also bring their families and children together, create friendships among them and also have the opportunity to help one another along the line.
“It has been long 20 years and we have also lost our colleagues in the fight to defend this very important country.
“This an opportunity for us to bring their families and their children to formally acknowledge them, appreciate them for what they have done for this great nation,” he said.
Umar said the association had ensured that families of their deceased colleagues are carried along and cared for, adding that the group usually reaches out to them during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day every year.
He said the group had been meeting regularly during courses at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College or the National Defense College, adding that they never had ample time to relate since they left NDA.
“So we got the permission for us to hold this reunion so as to allow each and every person that is not currently engaged to come together to make this event colourful.
“When we started in NDA, we were like 191 when entered 25 years ago and then along the line, some could not make it the end and we were 141 that graduated.
“Along the line, some left as Captain, Major and Lieutenant Colonel ranks and unfortunately we lost some of them, like nine of them.
“So currently, we have like 50 Colonels and five Lieutenant Colonels in the army. We equally have three Navy captains and one commander and we have almost like a 27 to 28 Group captains and two Squadron Leaders in the Air Force,” he said.
Also, Navy Capt. Abiodun Folorunsho, Member of Organising Committee, said the reunion meant a lot to them owing to the fact their set bear the brunt of most of the ongoing operations around the country.
He said they were growing in service and had to answer the clarion call since insurgency started.
Similarly, Group Capt. Jubril Mamman of the Nigerian Air Force, said they need to integrate and do better as they grow in service.
“As we are bonding, we are bonding ourselves, we are bonding our families and we hope that these bonds will last for a long time to come,” he said.
A member of the course, retired Lt.-Commander Ibrahim Baba-Inna, appreciated God for bringing them together after 20 years, adding that some of them who left the service are excelling in their various endeavours.
Baba-Inna, who was a governorship candidate in the last General Election in Adamawa, said the event was all about bonding since some of them had not seen each other 20 years ago.
“That is why we’re celebrating this reunion because so many of us have moved on while there are other colleagues of ours who flew from outside the country to come for this reunion.
“So many of our colleagues that are retired are into different kinds of businesses. Some are bankers, some are in the real estate sector.
“So a lot has been happening, and this reunion affords us the opportunity to come together to bond because we know ourselves, but we need to really know our families and our kids.
Baba-Inna, who runs an NGO that caters for military veterans said he had remained an advocate of the welfare of the veterans and widows of fallen heroes.
While commending the Military Pension Board for prompt payment of entitlements, he urged government to do more to enhance their welfare.
Source: News Agency of Nigeria