The Bill for an Act to establish the families of fallen servicemen support fund and other related matters, being sponsored by Senator Abba Moro (Benue South), passed second reading on the Senate floor on Wednesday.
Recall that the Bill was read the first time on Thursday, 18th February, 2021.
In his lead debate, Moro said the Bill was to, among other things, establish a fund to be known as ‘THE FAMILIES OF FALLEN SERVICEMEN SUPPORT FUND’ into which shall be paid all monies prescribed under the Bill and monies received as donations, bequeaths, trusts and contributions for the welfare of families of members of the armed forces and operatives of other security agencies who die in the line of duty including combat and non-combat deaths.
If established, he said the fund would provide assistance for families of servicemen who died in active service.
Moro’s lead debate;
“Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, May I humbly seek your leave to lead the debate on this very essential Bill.
“The Bill was read for the first time in this revered Chamber on Thursday, 18th February, 2021. The main intent of this Bill, Mr. President, is to among other things, establish a Fund to be known as ‘The Families of Fallen Servicemen Support Fund’ into which shall be paid all monies prescribed under the Bill and monies received as donations, bequeaths, trusts and contributions for the welfare of families of members of the armed forces and operatives of other security agencies who die in the line of duty including combat and non-combat deaths.
“For the purpose of this Bill, therefore, Mr President, Distinguished Colleagues, may I define families of fallen servicemen to include families of members of the armed forces and operatives of other security agencies who die in the line of duty, be it combat or non-combat death.
“Mr. President, my highly respected Colleagues, we all know that coping with the death of a loved one is an enormous load to bear as it sparks a traumatic heartbreak that can lead to feelings of desertion or indignation, in addition to deep poignancy. In the case of families of fallen heroes, it is even more burdensome because in any of such circumstances of the loss of a loved one, a grieving spouse may have the additional responsibility of caring for the children, helping them cope with the loss and change in their lives, and in some cases families of fallen servicemen further experience an additional sense of loss from having to move outside of their military community, which includes a change of school for their children. The surviving spouse or other family member may suddenly become solely responsible for the family’s financial situation.
“Mr. President, my very Distinguished Colleagues, may I state here that until you meet some of the families left behind by security operatives who die in the line of duty in Nigeria and witness the reality of the devastating blow the loss had dealt on them, you may never be able to appreciate what it means to take the bullet for your dear country.
“May I state further, Mr .President, that since the start of insurgency in Nigeria, thousands of troops have been killed by the Boko Haram group, leaving behind their families in the unpredictable hands of fate. Leaders of the military widows association (MiWA) stated that there are more than 11,000 registered members and the number keeps growing by the day.
“Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, given the security situation in our dear country Nigeria, it has become pertinent to enact a law that will establish a Fund to take care of the welfare challenges facing the indigent families of security operatives who die in the line of duty.
“In return for the sacrifices of military and paramilitary members of the armed services of the Federation who die defending our national sovereignty against internal and external aggression, Mr. President, Most Respected Colleagues, the families they leave behind deserve our support to live confident and productive lives.
“Mr. President, Most Respected Colleagues, I humbly urge you all to support this Bill and pass it accordingly, because every support received by families of our fallen heroes has a great value and translates to strengthen the security of lives and property in our dear country, promoting peace and stability.
“Thank you all for your kind audience.”
After several supportive contributions by Senators, the Bill passed second reading and referred to the Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters, to report back within four weeks.