SPEECH DELIVERED BY GUEST OF HONOUR
DR. (MRS.) SEINYE O.B. LULU BRIGGS, CHAIRMAN BOARD OF TRUSTEES, O. B. LULU-BRIGGS FOUNDATION, AT THE WEST AFRICAN SOCIAL ACTIVITIES OF THE 6 DIVISION NIGERIAN ARMY HELD IN PORT HARCOURT BARRACKS ON 25TH JANUARY 2020
1. It gives me joy to be in your midst I am grateful to God. I am thankful to the Maj. General F. O. Agugo, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) the 6 Division Port Harcourt, for his gracious invitation extended to me to be with you today. Thank you, Sir. May I also use the opportunity to welcome you to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, a place I am sure you are already enjoying our warmth and cooperation.
2. Distinguished guests let me begin by acknowledging the remarkable contributions of Maj. General F. O. Agugo, and the officers and soldiers of the GOC 6 Division Port Harcourt in sustaining peace, security, and safety in the Niger Delta. It is due to your sacrificial duties to our nation, that citizens and expatriates now find the region a safe haven to live and do business in, without trepidation. We thank you and your men Sir and encourage you to do more.
3. I am informed that this event: the West African Social Activities (WASA) is one that marks the successful end of military activities annually. It is an event that as we have seen gathers officers, soldiers, families, and friends in a congenial atmosphere while also showcasing the rich cultural heritage of our great nation.
4. Officers & Men of the 6 Division and fellow guests, although I am bereaved of my dearly beloved husband, the High Chief Dr. O. B. Lulu-Briggs, God bless his soul, a distinguished nationalist, statesman, and philanthropist extraordinaire, I took particular interest in accepting this invitation because this is an event that brings families together, including widows like me, who have been left without husbands and some are children who have been left without fathers most of whom have paid the ultimate price for the security and integrity of our nation.
5. As Chairman of the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation, I am here to further strengthen our partnership with the 6 Division Nigerian Army in supporting soldiers’ wives and widows who are the bedrock and strength of Army families, the primary support-base of officers and soldiers whose sworn allegiance to our beloved Nigeria is to keep the rest of us safe and secure. Ours is a partnership that began 5 years ago, and which we intend to sustain for as long as God in His gracious benevolence enables us to.
6. During my last visit in October 2019 at the gracious invitation of the immediate-past GOC 6 Division to commission Block 70B, I promised that the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation would support soldiers’ wives and widows in the future. I am here to fulfill that promise today.
7. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, our support to the widows of our fallen soldiers are to assure them that they are not forgotten and that the sacrifices of their beloved husbands in defending our nation are very well appreciated. It is also important to say that as a people, beyond the walls of this barrack, it is time we rose together as one to do more to protect widows from stigmatization, persecution and oppression by those who seek to take advantage of their bereavement. Widows should rather be comforted and empowered to sustain the families they are left with after the passing of their beloved husbands. I believe it is time for a more coordinated approach in protecting widows and ensuring that those who victimize, persecute and dehumanize them are made to face laws that do not just bark but actually bite. It is something I am personally committed to.
8. Consequently, through the “Education and Scholarships Programme” of the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation, which has in the last 18 years contributed to broadening access to and promoting achievement in education within the Niger Delta, and in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable education, we put ourselves forward to partner with the GOC and the 6 Division to structure sustainable interventions in the lives of the widows of our heroes. To this end, we announce the award of 150 scholarships to children of widows of our fallen heroes. Of this number, 50 scholarships of the sum of N50,000 each are designated to children currently in Secondary School. The scholarship would take them through to Senior Secondary School Three (SSS3).
9. The second set of 50 scholarships is designated for the payment of WAEC Examination fees for 50 children of widows of our fallen heroes preparing for Higher Education.
10. The third set of 50 scholarships is designated for the payment of JAMB Examination fees for 50 children of widows of our fallen heroes.
11. Our desire is that the scholarship awards and study grants would be given based on merit in order to reward hard work and uphold the discipline associated with the long-held tradition of the military. Hence, we look forward to a partnership with the 6 Division aimed at organizing the pre-qualification and selection processes and ensuring that the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation receives annually, a list of the appropriate number of qualified children of widows to benefit from the above-mentioned scholarships and education grants.
12. Distinguished Guests, based on my personal bitter, harrowing and shocking experience after the passing of my dearly beloved husband even at the graceful age of 88, I now understand better the horror and terror faced by some widows when they are most vulnerable.
13. Therefore, to ensure that the widows of our fallen heroes are not persecuted for any reason associated with the loss of their husbands, the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation is instituting a free legal service to help protect widows rights and uphold their dignity as respectable members of society. The free legal service will cover the cost of providing legal advice and adjudication of cases in court against the persecution of widows who want to defend their rights but lack the financial means to do so.
14. When I first visited these barracks, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Army as an institution supports and comforts the widows of its compatriots. Our team looks forward to working with yours to work out the modalities for widows to access this service in the most user-friendly manner possible.
15. Ladies and gentlemen, because we mean business when we say we are standing with widows and their families, I am pleased to present Two hundred bags of rice and a cheque of 5 million naira to Widows of soldiers of the 6 Division Port Harcourt.
16. Ladies and gentlemen, In conclusion, I want to say how nice it is to be privileged to see the softer side of the army as its families relax and enjoy various displays of our Nigeria’s rich and colorful cultures this afternoon.
17. Congratulations to the GOC and the entire 6 Division of the Nigerian Army for the success of today’s event. And once more, thank you for inviting me to grace the occasion.
18. God bless you.