By Shola Akingboye, 30th July 2021
It was another groundbreaking event in Abuja on Friday, as GreenHeroes Foundation, a nongovernmental organisation commissions a support center as parts of its humanitarian drive to look into the plight of widows and orphans left behind by Nigerian war veterans, and other legends whose sacrifices at war to save the nation have rendered many incapacitated while in active service.
Founded by Nigerians under the leadership of a senior military officer, Air Commodore Balogun (rtd), according to the organizers, GreenHeroes Foundation is established to provide care and supports to the families of Nigerians war veterans, the widows, orphans, including ex-service men who have done Nigeria great in their various endeavors.
Top members of the foundation, Mr Don Pedro Okojie (top left) addressing participants, and Lt Col SJ Dibal (rtd) (top right) during her lecture titled: The Effect of War on Soldiers, below it is the newly commissioned Support Center (left) and the widows to the right
Don Pedro Okojie, one of the conveners and the anchor of the Friday’s event reveals the milestone of the foundation, its previous activities designed towards ameliorating poverty in homes of fallen heroes among others.
“Today is a special day; a special day for the GreeanHeroes Foundation, a special day to tell the world that the Nigerians veterans are important, to tell the widows and the orphans that we will never forget them, that their father and husbands did not died in vain He snapped.
Okojie further highlighted the significance of establishing the Support Center visavis the present location of the facility, which he said is more strategic compare to the previous venue where the widows and orphan children were hosted by GHF.
“For this country to better, we must look after them, look after their children. It is a duty for every Nigerian, not a duty for government alone, and that is why the GreenHeroes Foundation has been founded.
“I know last year when our wonderful widows were contacted, we promised them that we are going to have a Support Center for the Foundation”
“We shall be rolling out a skill acquisition programme for our widows that will enable them acquire skills, learn new things and be knowledgeable about other things they can do to better their lives and that of their wards for sustenance.
That means they are already on the way to victory.
“The significant of this project is that they should be able to look after themselves, children and homes, and that is only when the GreenHeroes Foundation will be very proud.
“So, skill acquisition is very important to us at GreenHeroes Foundation. Of course, we know how the country is, particularly in view of the covid-19 pandemic that ravages the world and the economic imbroglio it brought that affects everyone. So, we truly need economic supports for widows in particular.
“We decided to relocate to a more accessible environment where they can reach out to us for help, counseling and also offer any useful advice to the NGO in areas the Foundation can serve them better without having to travel long distance to get help when the need arises.
“We tried to avoid a situation where they could turn to beggars looking for transportation stipends just to get across to us for assistance”. He stressed.
Meanwhile, in his opening remark at the occasion, the Chairman, Board of Director, GreenHeroes Foundation while welcome the Special Guest of Honour, the wife of the Chief of Air Staff and the President of the Nigerian Airforce Wives Association (NAFOWA) and her entourage, Mrs. Olubunmi Elizabeth Amoo; he reiterated the NGO’s commitment to its humanitarian gesture towards widows and orphans left behind by war veterans.
He called on the Airforce First Lady to utilized her tenure and register her name and that of her husband in gold as a mother and a staunch supporter of the project ‘Veterans Family Support’ embarked by GreenHeroes Foundation.
He speaks: “It is your responsibility to look after the soldier and men under your husband’s command, that makes you the mother of all the Airforce personnel serving and retiring, and most of our problems will come to you, and I will love you to put more interests in this affair and look after your children.
“We have a lot of orphans, widows and lots of retired people that are in dare need of assistance and the only person near to them is you.
“We may not be able to approach your husband because of the protocol requires, and due to our efforts to ameliorate poverties among the orphans, we feel we should be able to get to you.
“We therefore urge you with all sincerity to please think about this and be part of this charity movement anchor by the GreenHeroes.
“GreenHeroes are NGO dedicated to look after widow, orphans and retired service personnel. So I will advise you madam, to please speak to us on whatever it is that will make it easy for you to make an effort and also leaves a legacy behind while your husband leaves his own legacy, but you as a mother will have to leave your own legacy, and the best legacy to leave behind is that, you have taken care of widows, orphans and your retired personnel.
“Madam, while I hope we are not asking for too much, take it from me that we would partner with you and make it very easy for you.
“We are Commissioning this complex today, so that we would have requirements for the widows and orphans to have access whenever they require for some things, and also advise if you will have a dedicated personnel among your aids to monitors what is happening here, so that we can be able to function well and be effective, and whatever we do here will be part of your programme to make impact.” GHF BOT Chairman opined.
Surrounded by NAFOWA’s topnotch at Widows’ Support Center, the NAFOWA President, Mrs. Olubunmi Amoo minced no words in her clarion calls on all Nigerian to support war veterans and care for their family:
The Special Guest of Honour in her address was also full of words of encouragements, honour and fulfillment at the occasion.
She commended members of the GreenHeroes Foundation over what she described as a brilliant initiative.
The Special Guest of Honour and the President, Nigerian Airforce Officers Wives Association (NAFOWA), Mrs Elizabeth Amoo, delivering her keynote address.
Amoo further highlighted the effect of war on military families. She reiterated the clarion calls by President Muhammadu Buhari, canvassing for welfares for members of ex-service men and their families, says the orphan and widows must be well taken care of.
“Recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his administration will spare no effort on resources to ensure that widows and orphans are well cater for.
“Ladies and gentle men, we are here to compliments the efforts of the government and the Armed Forces of Nigeria, and to commend the process of healing the wounds of our soldiers, the widows, the orphans as well other members of their families who bears the grief on our behalf.
“I am particularly delighted to be part of this initiative as one of the key driver of the Chief of Air staff vision to provide a good welfare incentive to service personnel.
“This service however, is not limited to members of Airforce alone as it is designed to provide succor to all military families whenever they are in need as we are always stronger together.
“Just as the popular saying goes and I quote, ‘little drop of water makes a mighty ocean’. Individually, we are like drop of water, but together we could become a mighty ocean.
“Let me say that once war is declared, it is not only the soldiers who are at war, the entire family of deployed troupe are also at war.
“The effect of war on military family include: lowliness, depressive, anxiety, broken homes and unruly children.
“Therefore, I urge all of us here present to support this initiative and implore your family members to do same and secure Nigeria. It is not a one man claim; it is through our collective efforts that our nation can remain safe and secure.” NAFOWA boss admonished.
On the commissioning of the support center, built by the GreenHeroes Foundation, Mrs Olubunmi Elizabeth Amoo noted that her interaction with some members of the leadership of the NGO over the years proves that their desire to establish the initiative was born out of their experiences as former military officers, who understands where the shoe pinches and consequences on war veterans while in the service.
“The foundation also informed me that this is just the beginning as it hope to repeat the initiative in other parts of the nation as our military family spread widely across the country”
“I wish to express our gratitude to you guys and thank you for your service as we declared this facility open today.
“Gentle men and ladies, our collective resolve is one of those things that could raise the moral of our deployed troupes and boosts their willingness to defend their father land. May the Almighty continue to guide and protect them and their family.
“Once again, thanks so much for coming.” Amoo concluded.
Also, not a few among dignitaries at the event announced diverse donations and supports as parts of activities earmarked for the day in line with the clarion calls to support the needy.
Items ranging from cash donation, clothings, including bags of rice among others made the lists of some of the gifts showered on the widows and orphans at the occasion.
Present at the unveiling of the help center, are widows, orphans and some ex service men invited. Other notable senior military officers, both serving and retired also joined in the celebration of war veterans and families.
Among them are the President, Nigerian Airforce Officers Wives Association (NAOWA), Mrs Olubunmi Elizabeth Amoo and her entourage; the Chairman Air Vice Marshall, MM Audu Dibal (Rtd), AVM Argungun; the President, Nigerian Tennis Federation of Nigeria, AVM Ifedayo Akindoju (Engr), Commander Manu Yapga.
Others are the MD Universal Insurance, Ifeanyi Eze Obi smog others.
NAFOWA President, Mrs Olubunmi Amoo (top left) commissioning the Support Center.
NAFOWA President and her encourage inspecting the facility after the commissioning
The Special Guest of Honour, Mrs Amoo in-group photographs with widows and some of the surviving war veterans at the unveiling event
Guest of honour in pix with member of the foundation (top left), also with members of her entourage, NAFOWA’s family (top right) with other dignitaries below