The Chief of Army of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, wept on Monday as he read the funeral oration at the graveside of the seven military men killed by the Boko Haram terrorists.
Lt.-Col. Muhammad Abu-Ali, Seargents Muazu Ibrahim, Bassey Okon, Hussani Jafaru, Cpl. Chukwu Simon, Private Salisu Lawal and Seaman Patrick Paul were killed when the terrorists attempted to seize Mallam Fatori on November 4 .
The soldiers were inducted into the Operation Lafiya Dole in 2014, designed to fight the Boko Haram insurgents and liberate the North-East from their hold.
He said, “They were brave, precise, professional and inspiring. They led the battle to recapture the following towns: Monguno, Baga, new Marte, Bama, Gwoza, Banki Junction, Gamboru-Ngala, Yale, Yanteke, Bita, Deruwa, Daira Kangaruwa and Mallam Fatori.
“In these battles, they rescued children and women, fathers and mothers, the young and the old and restored peace and hope to Nigerian citizens.
“At last, on Nov. 4, they paid the supreme sacrifice in the battle of Mallam Fatori.”
He said that the deceased epitomised the very best of our military. They exemplified the values of our nation and the military which are: loyalty, discipline, courage, selfless service, respect, honour and dignity.
Buratai said that the deceased fought for the unity of the nation, adding that “your labour will never be in vain”.
He promised that the army would take care of their survivors.
Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by his Chief of Staff at the occasion, Alhaji Abba Kyari, said the deceased had shown unalloyed commitment to the nation.
He said, “They were fearless, responsive, inspiring, selfless and dedicated to their duties.
“The selflessness of these gentlemen reinvigorate the memories of other great fallen heroes, who stood firm in the defence of our dear nation.”
Buhari noted that the deceased had paid the supreme sacrifice in the ongoing fight against insurgency in the North-East, adding that their sacrifices would not go in vain.
He also noted that their contributions had resulted in the restoration of normalcy in the region.
He said, “It is, therefore, our resolve that the labour of these fallen heroes shall never be in vain.”
Dignitaries that attended the funeral included the service chiefs, Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno, Ministers of Information and culture, and Interior, and Senators Ali Ndume, Dino Melaye and Phillip Aduda.
Also at the burial were the Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, and Wife of the Senate President, Toyin Saraki, among others.
The deceased were interred at about 5.55 p.m. after all necessary military ceremonies. (NAN)