The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, has commended The Sun for picking the late Lt-Col. Mohammed Abu Ali and six other military personnel, who died in the battle against insurgency, for Nigerian Hero award, saying such honour would ginger soldiers making sacrifices to keep the nation safe.

He promised that the Nigerian Army would continue to cater for families of its personnel killed in the counter-insurgency war and other internal security operations across the country.

Speaking when he received a delegation from The Sun, which visited to formally present a letter announcing Col. Abu Ali and six other soldiers who died in counter-insurgency war in the North-east on November 4, 2016, as winners of The Sun Nigerian Hero award, Buratai said it was cheering for a newspaper to recognise the contributions and sacrifices of soldiers.

He gave assurance that the Army would do everything to keep Nigeria one and to defeat the Boko Haram, so that the sacrifices of those who lost their lives would not be in vain.

The army chief thanked the management and staff of The Sun for remembering the military’s modest efforts, saying the military would remain committed to its responsibility.

Said Buratai: “I want to most sincerely acknowledge and appreciate this award for the fallen heroes. These fallen heroes fought gallantly to keep Nigeria one and to keep especially the North-East safe and to defeat the Boko Haram terrorists.

“We want to sincerely thank you for recognising them and, indeed, the Nigerian Army as an institution and the Nigerian Armed Forces. Not all these fallen heroes are of the Nigerian Army, as we have a seaman, from the Nigerian Navy. It means this is a recognition given to the armed forces of our beloved country.

“I want to appreciate you. Please convey our deep appreciation to the managing director and editor-in-chief of your organisation for this recognition.”

He promised that the Nigerian Army would be well-represented at the award ceremony, pledging:   “We state here that their service will never go in vain. God willing, we will do everything possible to take care of the families they left behind.”

Earlier, the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Eric Osagie, who was represented by Assistant Editor (Politics), Ismaila Omipidan, said the soldiers were chosen for the Nigerian Hero award for fighting hard to defeat Boko Haram, despite the fact that they lost their lives in the process.

The Sun Awards ceremony is billed for February 18, 2017 at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Distinguished awardees on this year’s occasion include: Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun State Governor (Man of the Year); Barrister Nyesom Wike of Rivers State (Governor of the Year); Hon. Yakubu Dogara (Political Icon); Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari (Courage in Leadership) and Sir Tony Ezenna (Manufacturer of the Year).

Other winners of The Sun Awards, who will also be honoured on February 18, are: Dr. Stella Okoli, CEO, Emzor Pharmaceutical (Business Personality of the Year); Dr. Cosmas Maduka, Chairman of Coscharis Group (Investor of the Year).

Others are Prof Anya O. Anya, Chief Nike Akande, Chief Razak Okoya, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu and Alhaji Abubakar Balarabe Musa (Lifetime Achievement); Alhaji Tajudeen Owoyemi, Chairman, Avalon Intercontinental Limited (Hospitality Firm of the Year); Rita Dominic (Nollywood Personality of the Year) and Azubuike Nelson (Phyno) & Olamide Adedeji (Creative Personalities of the Year).

Former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, will be chairman of The Sun Awards.