From Fred Itua, Abuja

Chief Whip of the Senate, Mohammed Ali Ndume, has hailed President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for conferring posthumous awards on soldiers slain by yet-to-be identified assailants in Okuama, Delta State.

President Tinubu awarded posthumous national honours to the 17 soldiers killed in Okuama community in Delta State about two weeks ago. The President also promised scholarships and houses to the families of the military personnel.

President Tinubu announced the gesture on Wednesday during the burial of the slain military personnel at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja.

They were killed on the 17th of March while on a peace mission to Okuama in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

The soldiers are A. Ali, a lieutenant colonel and commander of the team; SD Shafa and DE Obi, both majors; and U Zakari, a captain.

The others are Yahaya Saidu, a staff sergeant; Danbaba Yahaya and Kabir Bashir, both corporals; Abdullahi Ibrahim, Bulus Haruna, Sole Opeyemi and Bello Anas, all lance corporals.

Alhaji Isah, Clement Francis, Abubakar Ali, Adamu Ibrahim, Hamman Peter, and Ibrahim Adamu, all privates, were also murdered.

President Tinubu said that while the four officers were honoured with Member of the Order of Niger (MON), the 13 soldiers were awarded the Officer of the Federal Republic Medal.

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“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,” he said.

Senator Ndume, while hailing Tinubu for the gesture, said that for attending the funeral, the President has demonstrated that he is patriotic.

He called on political leaders and Nigerians to put their differences aside and unite in honouring the fallen heroes.

Ndume also called on the Chief of Defence Staff to emulate President Tinubu and confer posthumous medals on the fallen heroes, too.

Ndume said: “I commend President Bola Tinubu for attending the funeral of the soldiers slain at Okuama and for awarding their children full scholarships, as well as presenting houses to their survivors

“Every Nigerian should commend this patriotic and respectful gesture. Nobody could deserve it more. Our Armed Forces are the guarantors of the Nigerian state and our last defence against the forces of disunity and impunity.

“I hope we can put aside our political differences and stand together as one in honour of our fallen heroes.

“The Chief of Defence Staff should also posthumously award the departed soldiers’ medals for bravery and courage under fire.”