Francis Adigun, affectionately known by colleagues in the armed forces as ‘Eagle,’ was a dedicated soldier. In 2017, he made the ultimate sacrifice while on the frontline, leaving his family in enduring pain and eternal anguish—a testament to a love for one’s country greater than words can express.
“His wife, Millicent, was pregnant when he was killed. His first child Sonia was about 2 or 3yrs old,” Pius Adesina, who was a friend to Francis before his death, tweeted.
A recent report from Punch reveals that, between June 2015 and January 2023, a total of 2,140 security personnel have tragically lost their lives during President Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s (retd.) administration.
It is believed that the actual number of security personnel who lost their lives in active service may exceed the data obtained by our correspondents from the Nigeria Security Tracker, media reports, and other sources. Nonetheless, within the reviewed period, a reported total of 1,297 soldiers were tragically killed, including Francis.
Soldiers are not treated fairly
Regrettably, the soldiers and their families, despite their sacrifices and the hardships they endure to protect the nation, do not receive fair treatment. Their barracks are often in a state of disrepair, lacking essential amenities.
An army barracks serves as a community dedicated to accommodating soldiers and their families. These barracks are strategically located throughout Nigeria and are supposed to provide soldiers with a comfortable and supportive environment.
However, despite their unwavering dedication and heroism, the living conditions of these soldiers remain distressingly subpar. This stark reality casts a shadow over the very heroes who selflessly protect Nigeria and Nigerians.
In 2021, it was reportedthat as the Nigerian Army officers combat insecurity across the nation, the families they’ve left behind in the barracks endure inadequate power supply for more than six years.
When the ultimate price is paid by the soldiers, their wives, who are usually unemployed or underemployed, are given unfair treatment as they are mostly sent out of the barracks with their children, even without payments or benefits of any kind sometimes.
In April 2022, widows who tragically lost their husbands while fighting against Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province or ISWAP were summoned and given instructions to vacate their residences by May 10, 2022.
The X (formerly Twitter) Post
An X user, with the name and @Jassjegs(Die Hard) posted about the late soldier, Francis.
“If you hear the name Eagle forget me he’s the real Eagle Eye,” he wrote. “Man can bring down a flying bird with a shot. The day we lost him was one of the saddest day on earth, I couldn’t concentrate anymore for days.” an excerpt from his post said.
Numerous compassionate Nigerians responded to this tweet, extending heartfelt wishes for his safety and offering prayers for his family as well as other soldiers currently in service.
One of the reactions was: “Oga Francis. His wife day our barracks day suffer. Saw her last week when I went to watch man utd match at mami. This guy death pains me pass my dad death”, was the tweet of one Lilbomap under the Jassjegs tweet about Francis.
As a result of these responses, the late Francis’s wife was contacted, and now, Nigerians have come together to contribute funds for her well-being and that of her two daughters with Francis. It was disheartening to learn that despite her age, she chose not to enter into a new marriage.
One day after her bank account details were shared on social media, she recorded a video featuring her two daughters, expressing heartfelt gratitude for the financial contributions she had received.
Now, thanks to the efforts of the self-acclaimed soldier, many women and children who were abandoned and neglected after the loss of their husbands are receiving assistance from compassionate individuals across Nigeria.
An initiative is initiated
Tunde James, speaking on X, suggested the establishment of a foundation in memory of our past heroes. This foundation would allow citizens to contribute towards the welfare of the families these heroes left behind.
“I think this is an avenue for u (you) to start a foundation for our vets- give it a name so Patriotic Nigerians can be a blessing to their wives and children”, he tweeted.