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My heart is heavy: Full speech of President Bola Tinubu at the burial of 17 slain soldiers



Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff and other Service Chiefs, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief of Staff and other military officers.

It is with heavy heart that I join you today to commit to earth, the remains of our officers and men who died in the course of duty on 14 March 2024 in Okuama Community, Delta State.

The officers and soldiers who lost their lives that day were patriots, brave and noble men who gave their lives to defend and protect our nation against internal and external threats. Their sacrifice will be remembered and honoured for generations to come and their.

On 14 March, Lt. Colonel A. H. Ali, the Commanding Officer of 181 Amphibious Battalion, led three other officers and 13 soldiers to the Okuama Community to mediate in the lingering dispute with Okoloba Community.


They went as peace makers and peace keepers respectfully seeking to bring an end to the hostilities between the two communities.

They didn’t go with tanks, machine guns and other weapons.

They were on a mission of peace.

Before the dastardly attack, Lt. Colonel Ali, as the Chief of Army Staff briefed me, enjoyed great operational exploits; fighting terrorists and insurgents in the North East and North West before his deployment to the Niger Delta.

Ali kept faith with his military calling till the end.


On behalf of a grateful nation, we honour the sacrifice of Ali and the other gallant patriots who died that day. They will forever be remembered as heroes who answered the call of duty and paid the ultimate price.

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Lieutenant Colonel Ali,
Major D.E Obi,
Major S.D. Ashafa,
Captain U. Zakari,
Staff Sergeant Yahaya Saidu,
Corporal Danbaba Yahaya,
Corporal Kabir Bashir,
Lance Corporal Abdullahi Ibrahim,
Lance Corporal Bulus Haruna,
Lance Corporal Sole Opeyemi,
Lance Corporal Bello Anas;
Private Alhaji Isah,
Private Clement Francis,
Private Abubakar Ali,
Private Adamu Ibrahim,
Private Hamman Peter, and
Private Ibrahim Adamu,

Each man now belongs to the hallowed list of servicemen and women who defended our country and protected their fellow Nigerians not minding the risk to their own lives.

They have all been awarded posthumous national honours. The four gallant Officers have been accorded the Award of Member of the Order of Niger (MON). The thirteen courageous soldiers who also lost their lives have been Awarded the Officer of the Federal Republic Medal.

I commiserate with the families of our fallen heroes and the entire Armed Forces. I share in the pain and grief you carry today. It is my prayer that God will comfort all who are bereaved as a result of this tragedy.


It is worth restating the debt of gratitude we owe these valiant soldiers and their families.

As Commander-In-Chief, I do not take the contributions of members of our Armed Forces for granted. I recognise your valour and bravery. I honour your unflinching commitment to making our country safe from criminals, bandits, kidnappers and insurrectionists.

While we continue to grieve for the courageous men we lost that day, let us also, on this solemn occasion, be reminded of the unfinished business of working for peace and harmony in our communities.

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We must begin to rebuild our communities and make them into places where love, tolerance and harmony will reign. Leaders at all levels especially community leaders and traditional rulers must work to strengthen the bonds that unite us. We must endthe cycle of violence and bloodletting.

I want to make it clear, once more, that those who committed this heinous crime will not go unpunished. We will find them and our departed heroes will get justice.


The elders and chiefs of Okuoma also have a duty to help the military in fishing out the gunmen who committed the barbaric crime against our men.

I wish to also commend our Armed Forces for their restraint in choosing not to carry out any reprisal attacks in Okuoma or its neighbouring communities. We must all ensure that the innocent people of Okuoma are not made to bear the punishment of the guilty and wicked among them.

To the entire armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I have a message for you: Do not let the death of your compatriots discourage you. There is no higher honour than the vocation you have chosen to pursue. We cherish you. We cherish your labour of love. We salute your daily sacrifice in protecting your fellow citizens from danger. We acknowledge your sacrifices to defend our nation.

Within our continent, our sub-region and across the world, the Nigerian Military has remained a force for good, embodying a great example and keeping our democracy safe.

It is now our duty to protect the families of our departed heroes.

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The Federal Government will provide a house in any part of our country to each of the families of the four officers and 13 soldiers.

The Federal Government has also approved scholarships to all the children of the deceased up to the University level.

The Military must, within the next ninety days, ensure that all the benefits of the departed are paid to their families.

May the families of the departed and all their loved ones find the strength to bear the pain of this loss.

May God grant our heroes eternal rest.


May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria and keep our troops safe, always.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria
Commander-in-Chief, Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria


Soyinka, terror to dictators, face of democracy – Tinubu



President Bola Tinubu, spared no nice words in showering accolades on Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first Nobel Laureate on Literature, extolling his democratic credentials, ending it all with the renaming of the National Theatre as The Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts, in honour 90th birthday of the celebrated playwright, novelist and activist.

The President’s sentiments, on Soyinka, a professor of literature, globally celebrated essayist, actor, singer, composer, and documentarian, who brought great honour to Africa and Nigeria when he won the coveted prize in 1986, was conveyed by Ajuri Ngelale, his spokesman in a statement, ahead of the birthday on Saturday, July 13.

Describing him as one of the finest minds of his generation; conforming to the highest standards of human enlightenment, but unyielding to injustice, oppression, and base impulses, Tinubu hailed his long-time friend, with whom he was in the trenches some three decades ago, during the June 12, 1993 struggle.

The statement, which stressed that Tinubu also hailed Soyinka as one of Nigeria’s living repositories of history, knowledge, and courage, and commended him for his valiant efforts in the trenches for the nation’s future both as a pro-democracy champion and as a trenchant voice against corruption and maladministration over several decades, recalled the days of the struggle.


His words: “Our paths crossed during our just struggle for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria following the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election. When faced with a trial in absentia and death sentence by the military regime at home, he galvanized opposition in exile through NALICON and NADECO. His global stature made him the face of our struggle to validate June 12 and restore democracy in Nigeria.”

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Wishing him many more years in good health and creative fulfilment as a global force for change, he added: “Today, I join the world to celebrate his profound influence on generations of writers, scholars, and activists who have been inspired by his work. I celebrate him for giving us the spark to fight and confront military dictators in our country.

“I am, accordingly, delighted to have the honour to announce the decision of the Federal Government to rename the National Theatre in Iganmu, Surulere, as The Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts.”

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S’Court: No more allocations to 37 Development centres in Lagos, others  



The 37 Local Government Development Centres (LGDC), created in Lagos in 2003, during the tenure of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as Governor of the state, may have been dealt a hard blow, as they will no longer be captured in the funding bracket of the state, going by the interpretation of Thursday’s ruling of the Supreme Court, by some legal minds.

One of those who believe that by the judgement, the councils have lost their source of funding, following the pronouncement of the courts that allocations from the Federation Account be paid directly into the accounts of recognised entities is, Mike Ozekhome, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

Lagos has 20 local governments originally created by the Federal Government, while the 37 LGDCs, were created by the Tinubu administration, in a bid to further take governance to the grassroots, a development, which led to a bitter feud between the government and the Federal Government under the President Olusegun Obasanjo.

In fact, throughout the period Obasanjo was in power after the creation of the LGDCs, the state was denied its council allocations, as a punishment to the state, following the former President’s aversion to the move.


It was only the government of Umaru Yar’Adua, Obasanjo’s successor, who released the entire entitlements to the state, when he assumed power in 2007, after the state had funded the councils from its own resources for four years.

Ozekhome, a renowned constitutional lawyer,  who was a guest of The Morning Brief, a breakfast programme on Channels Television, on Friday, told his host that Thursday’s apex court judgement on the autonomy of the councils, made it clear that the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) would not send funds to local government areas headed by caretaker committee chairmen, or development centres.

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Hear him: “The judgement of the government is clear. If you want to receive funds from the federation account, then conduct an election. If what you have in place is a caretaker committee as local government chairman, be sure that it will not have money from the federation account.

“What this law is saying is that if you are not a democratically elected local government council, you cannot have this money under section 162 subsection 5 and 6 of the 199 Constitution. So, what it means is that money should now be ploughed to those local governments that are in existence democratically.”

The only remedy, he stated was for the state to find ways of funding the development centres from the allocations of the councils, adding: “They can do that internally to share. That is their internal business. Nobody can control that one. But for now, the money can only go to those local government areas named in the constitution. Don’t forget they are even named in the constitution, 774 local governments. If you want money from the federation account, such councils must be democratically elected.”


The apex court not only endorsed full local government autonomy and ordering that funds from the FAAC be paid directly to their accounts, but also barred governors from henceforth dissolving democratically elected officials for local governments adding that doing so would amount to a breach of the 1999 Constitution.

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Tinubu completely caged, now surrounded by thieves, Ndume insists



Ali Ndume, Senator representing Borno South at the National Assembly, on Thursday dug deeper in his earlier revelations putting Nigerians on notice that President Bola Tinubu is currently under a cocoon thrown around him by his aides, who have used the opportunity to mindlessly fleece the national till.

A guest of Prime Time, a current affairs programme on Arise News Network, Ndume, Chief Whip of the Senate, told his host that the seat of power has now been captured by “kakistocrats” – a government run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens and kleptocrats – one run by thieves.

Absolving Tinubu of complicity in the alleged massive thievery he alleged that the Presidential Villa and top government bodies have become, he said: “The government is also populated by kleptocrats, but unfortunately that is not what the President is up to. He really meant renewed hope, but you can only do that when you have people around you that are on the same type of thinking.”

Ndume one of the longest serving members of NASS, explained that much as Tinubu, whom he described as a close political associate and a democrat, would always be quick to act on any act of malfeasance that came to his attention, such as his recent repudiation of the Cyber-crime bill, the said unscrupulous aides, had been doing much to keep him away from some critical information.


Hear him: “When the president realised that he had not heard about it, he quickly suspended it.” He highlighted the significant challenge of hunger and food scarcity, mentioning that inflation has risen to 40%. In some places, even with your money, you won’t find the food items you want to buy, which is very dangerous..

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“Nigeria has never been included among countries facing severe food crises or food insecurity, but recent UN and World Food Programme figures rank Nigeria as a hotspot. For people like me, I have to be scared because I’m 64 years old with 10 children, 20 grandchildren, and I don’t have a passport or visa to anywhere.

“Some Ministers only meet the president during council meetings and that the President is often the first to leave. I’m the chief whip, and if the chief whip can’t have access to the president, the new senators won’t have access either. During the time of President (Olusegun) Obasanjo’s administration, any senator could see the president within 24 hours.

“President Tinubu is caged in. There are no visible efforts by the government to address pressing issues like climate change. The President has to harness Nigeria’s natural and human resources. He must get the right people into office and dominate his government with democrats. The president needs people who will realise his dream and tell him when something is wrong.”

Ndume who also bemoaned the effect of the removal of the fuel subsidy, argued that much as it was a good move to eliminate corruption and allow savings to benefit the people, measures must be taken to cushion such effects, like the introduction of food stamps, adding that presently the anger of Nigerians over their parlous situation could snowball into uncontrollable conflagration.


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