Two thousand and ninety-seven military personnel out of 2,787 enlisted into the armed forces in 1984 were lost to war, accidents or dismissed for indiscipline, it was learnt at the weekend.
Course instructors at the Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre (NAFRC), Oshodi stated this at a ceremony where the remaining 690 were retired after completing their service years.
The retirees, who were taken through a six months’ course to prepare them for civil and post-service lives, comprised 390 from the Army, 144 from the Navy (NN) and the Air Force (135).
Statistics reeled out by the Course Instructors during the event indicated that a total of 1,527 Army personnel, 680 from Navy and 550 (Air Force) started the journey the same day in 1984, but 1,137 from the army, 536 from navy and 415 Air Force personnel were lost along the way to operational exigencies, road traffic incidents and illness or disciplinary actions.
At the retirement ceremony, President Muhammadu Buhari, who was special guest of honour, noted with nostalgia that it was during his era as military Head of State that the retirees were enlisted into the AFN.
Buhari, who was represented by Rear Admiral Abbah, urged the retirees to effectively reflect on the knowledge and skills they had acquired during their pre-retirement training at NAFRC.
He assured that the Federal Government was working to improve the welfare of servicemen so as to ensure their proper resettlement after rendering services to the nation.
“You are all aware of the security challenges confronting our country, particularly the insurgency in the Northeast, cattle rustling, farmers / herdsmen clashes, kidnappings, illegal bunkering/ pipeline vandalism, socio-ethnic crisis and other criminal activities across the country.
“Be reminded that as retired personnel of the AFN, much is expected from you in contributing your quota. I am aware that you had lecture on Basic Intelligence and Security aimed at sharpening your intelligence gathering skills towards surmounting any threat to life and property within your area of domicile or business concern.
“This will go a long way in curtailing and ameliorating these vices in order to enhance safety and security essential for meaningful socio- economic development as well as enhanced national security,” said the President.