17 Nigerian Soldiers Gruesomely Murdered Laid To Rest On Wednesday, 27th March, 2024 At The Military Cemetery, Abuja, Given Posthumous National Awards.

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The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Wednesday, led governors, federal lawmakers, military top brass, dignitaries, families and friends of 17 gallant military personnel gruesomely murdered in Delta State to lay wreaths in honour of the slain officers and soldiers.

The President was the Special Guest of Honour at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja venue of the burial.

The soldiers were murdered by vicious criminals of the riverine Okuoma village on March 14, 2024 when the men in uniform were on a peace mission to warring Okuama and Okoloba communities in the area.

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher Musa; Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-General Taoreed Lagbaja; Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, and Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla were present to pay final respects to
the fallen heroes.

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The Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau; and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas led members of both the upper and lower chambers to honour the slain military personnel.

Bodies of slain military personnel arrived the National Military Cemetery, Abuja for burial on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 and Governors Sheriff Oborevwori (Delta), Duoye Diri (Bayelsa), Usman Ododo (Kogi), Uba Sani (Kaduna), Hope Uzodimma (Imo), and Abba Yusuf (Kano) were physically present alongside other members of their state executives.

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The President joined the solemn assembly at exactly 04:10pm in honour of the gallant soldiers who paid the supreme price.

After the opening processions, prayers, laying of military accoutrements on caskets which housed the remains of the slain soldiers, and the sound of the bugle, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-General Taoreed Lagbaja, mourned the “gallant heroes”, saying it is highy demoralising that the citizens the soldiers tried to protect ended up killing them.

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COAS Assures Pregnant Widows, Families Of Support. The COAS described the killing of the soldiers as “most barbaric”, saying it took 72 hours after the unfortunate incident to recover the mutilated bodies of the slain soldiers.

Lt-General Lagbaja reiterated the Army’s commitment to bringing perpetrators of the heinous crime to book and recover all missing weapons.

He said three of the widows of the slain soldiers are pregnant. He assured the families of the fallen soldiers of maximum supports from the Nigerian Army.

He said, “The Okuoma killing has added to the care of the Nigerian Army and by extension, the Nigerian State, 10 widows, three of whom are four, five and eight months’ pregnant, 21 orphans and many other dependants which include parents were left behind.

“While commiserating with the families of these gallants soldiers, I assure them that the Nigerian Army and the good people of this country will not leave them in the cold.”

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The President assured the families of the soldiers of maximum support. The President approved scholarship for all children of the slain soldiers, including those in the womb. “He also approved houses for families of the deceased military personnel in any part of Nigeria. The President gave the military 90 days to pay all benefits to the families of the slain officers and soldiers.

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Tinubu said, “They have all been awarded now posthumous national honours. The four gallant officers have been accorded the awards of the Members of the Order of Nigeria (MON), The 13 courageous soldiers who also lost their lives have been awarded the Officers of the Federal Republic medals.”

While commiserating with the families of the slain military personnel, the President said the government’s resolve to hunt down the perpetrators will not wither.

“They won’t go unpunished. We will find them and our departed heroes will get justice,” the President vowed.

The slain military personnel responded to a distress call after a communal land dispute when they were gruesomely murdered.

The beheaded corpses of the slain soldiers were later recovered from a neigbouring river, while the stomachs and hearts of others were ripped off.

The Defence Headquarters later released the list of 17 military personnel killed in the attack.

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The Defence Headquarters said 17 personnel including the Commanding Officer of 181 Amphibious Battalion, two majors, one captain, and 12 personnel of the battalion were killed.

The gruesome murder has continued to draw condemnation from authorities in Nigeria. Tinubu described it as an attack on the nation and gave marching orders to security agencies to fish out the masterminds of the attack.

The Senate as well as civil society organisations have also condemned the gruesome murder of the soldiers and called for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators.

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