By: Angula Jessica

“…. thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counter-terrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort.” President Barack Obama on the killing of Al Qaeda Leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces in Pakistan.

America’s killing of leader of the Al Qaeda terrorists network, Osama Bin Laden remains the single most significant global campaign and triumph against terrorism. US President Barack Obama captured the heroic act of the American military in these endearing words. The simple act of appreciation of their efforts has been the propelling force behind the success story of America’s years of battle with terrorism forces.

Back home in Nigeria, I still recollect vividly President Muhammedu Buhari’s (PMB) glowing eulogies to the Nigerian military in his October 2016 Independence Day Speech. The President took time to specially acknowledge the invaluable contributions and sacrifices of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai  and the Nigerian army he leads  in the decimation and eventual defeat of Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) in Nigeria. This development has earned Nigeria international recognition as one of the few countries in the world to confront and subdue terrorism timely.

To further ennoble the troops to greater accomplishments’, President Buhari  also implored Nigerians to toe his footsteps by appreciating soldiers to bolster their spirit, incite their strength and boost their morale in doing more for their beloved country.

 So, appreciation has a spirit of compelling the recipients to go to astonishing levels to accomplish more. Appreciation is an incentive with unimaginable level of stimulation.  Nigerian soldiers in the line of battle over terrorism deserve this simple act of gratefulness from Nigerians who are the prime beneficiaries of their sacrifices to secure the country and the lives of Nigerians.

Therefore, my heart was elated when I read about the donation of N10 million by the Executive Secretary of TETFund Dr. Abdullahi Bichi Baffa to the Nigerian military in appreciation of their courage, steadfastness and triumph in the anti-terrorism war under the agency’s package of “Thank You For Service Initiative.”

 Gratitude is an integral part of the human life and when people are appreciated for the good things they have done or the sacrifices they make, it emboldens them to act more.  The Holy books speak about gratitude elaborately and mankind savours it generously.

The Nigerian Army has been in the combat war over terrorism for years. Soldiers on the battle front suffer multiple deprivations. Some deployments could   last for months and thereby severing him from his family and loved ones. While we sleep in the comfort of our homes, a soldier is in the jungle in rain and in sunshine battling for our peace and comfort.

He sometimes goes to bed hungry because he has found himself in a terrain where food is not readily available. In some cases he drinks water that we would not find suitable even for our laundry. Above all, he receives the bullets; the missiles and bombs enemies haul at him on our behalf, while we enjoy the serenity and peace such actions have conferred on us.

From 2009 when Boko Haram Terrorism became an issue in Nigeria; when it heightened from 2011 and peaked thereafter with reckless strikes and bombings, I marvel at the changes now. In the last 17 months of Buhari’s administration and the army’s leadership by General Buratai terrorists have been sent into premature retirement.

 Their capacity to visit mayhem on Nigerians is nearly zero percent and the country aims to achieve absolute freedom from terrorists with Buratai’s launch of Operation Rescue Finale. And its mission in  Sambisa forest and other parts of the Northeast now is to rescue every Nigerian that   Boko Haram insurgents abducted.

Therefore, as Nigerian Army makes steady and consolidated progress in completely obliterating any trace of terrorism in the country, they deserve the commendation and appreciation from Nigerians whom these gallant men and women have devoted their lives to serve. The gratitude could manifest in different ways.

I remember that once, General Buratai counseled that Nigerians could show appreciation to soldiers in the war front by acknowledging them anywhere they sight them whether on the road or in the marketplace. We could organize thanksgiving services for Nigerian soldiers to pray for them in absentia and all the times, beseech God Almighty to give them more strength and preserve their lives.

Schools, government and private offices in Nigeria and indeed, all public institutions could observe one minute silence every day for our fallen heroes in appreciation of their sacrifices and for those still in the battle line. We could go the extra mile by reaching to families these heroes have left behind with our token of gift, to assure them of our continued support and console them to understand that their spouses never served the nation in vain.

Much more, Nigerians and good spirited individuals could voluntarily donate money for the upkeep of soldiers in the warfront, as the action of TETFund has symbolized not necessarily because the FGN lacks the capacity to fend for our military, but to express our concern and gratitude to the Nigerian Army for freeing us from captivity of terrorists.

Buratai’s unflinching commitment to defeat terror is bolstered  because he knows his Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces,  President Buhari appreciates him and the  soldiers for the wonderful job; he knows the United Nations has not only appreciated them but shown special recognition to the Nigerian Army over its defeat of terrorists,  and the Army boss knows that millions of Nigerians have doffed their hats for the Nigerian Army.

The insignificant discordant voices are coming from a negligible few, who are not only promoters of terrorism, but also their agents. Their antics are designed to distract the COAS who has seen them from afar and has refused to yield to their pranks. The time has come for Nigerians to begin to demonstrate to the Nigerian army what true appreciation means and this would be a morale booster of immensurable value.

Angula writes from the United Kingdom.

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