Drama occured yesterday at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day (AFRD) in Abuja when the doves of peace released by President Muhammmadu Buhari refused to fly when released. The tradition of releasing caged doves symbolises peace and freedom and many believe that their refusal to fly away when set free represents a bad omen.
It was observed that one of the doves picked by the President did not fly only for the roof of the cage to be unlocked for all the birds who still refused to leave. Meanwhile, the President and his Vice, Yemi Osinbajo yesterday marked the Remembrance Day by laying wreaths at the National Memorial Arcade at the Eagle Square, Abuja. Other high government officials who laid wreaths at the ceremony were the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
It was observed participants at the ceremony observed the protocols put in place to control the spread of coronavirus. The President and other government officials, including military personnels, at the event wore face masks and observed social distance.
AFRD is celebrated on 15 January annually in Nigeria. It was formerly marked on 11 November of every year to coincide with the Remembrance Day (Poppy Day) for the World War II veterans in the British Commonwealth of Nations, but it was changed to 15 January of every year in Nigeria in commemoration of the surrender of Biafran troops to the Federal troops on 15 January 1970 thus signalling the end of the Nigerian Civil War.
The day is marked with a Remembrance Day parade at the Cenotaph in Abuja and in the 36 state capitals. The ceremony includes 21 gun salute, playing of the Last Post, a minute’s silence, laying of wreaths and release of pigeons to symbolise peace.