He made the call on Friday during the wreath laying and parade ceremony to mark the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration in Port Harcourt.
“On this solemn day and occasion therefore, we join the rest of our country to honour and pay tribute to all our soldiers who died at the various battlefields in the service of our nation.
“We also salute and honour every serving member of Nigerian Armed Forces carrying on today in the noble tradition of those before them dutifully defending our nation’s territorial integrity.
“They are fighting to keep us safe and secured in the face of insurgencies from Boko Haram, Bandits and other criminal elements threatening our peace and security across the country.
“Our beloved country is still together, existing and waxing stronger as one indivisible, free, and democratic country because of your commitment and sacrifice to its unity and progress.
“As Nigerians, our collective desire is to have a country where we can all live in unity, freedom and security. A country where our children and grandchildren can live in relative comfort and strive for a brighter future,’’ he said.
Wike also restated the need to have an enduring reward system for officers and men of the armed forces to encourage them in their sacrifices to the country.
He said his administration has continued to implement such financial support policy for security personnel of Rivers origin.
He noted that such policy was driven by his government high regards for their selfless sacrifices in keeping Nigeria united and in peace.
“No amount of recompense can adequately assuage the loss of precious life or the disabling effects of permanent bodily injuries.
“But we shall never cease to accord profound honour that you deserve and canonise your bravery and patriotism at all times in expression of our gratitude for what you truly represent,’’ he said.
According to Wike, the society must endeavour to move beyond the yearly ceremonial ritual and comfort speeches of today to proffer adequate care and support for the families of every one of our soldiers who unfortunately pays the supreme price.
He said that such care should extend to those soldiers who also suffer permanent disability in the line of duty to our nation.
“It is for this reason that we have since adopted and implemented the policy framework that guarantees some financial support to the immediate families of any soldier from Rivers State that pays the supreme price or suffers permanent disability at the battlefields in the course of his or her service to our nation.
“We have also fulfilled and will continue to fulfil our promises and commitments to our veterans through the Rivers State Chapter of Nigeria Legion.
According to him, his administration has two days ago, released the sum of N70 million to the chapter.’’
The governor also called on the Federal Government to change the Security Chiefs in order to allow for fresh ideas and strategy in tackling the threats to internal insecurity in Nigeria.
Wike acknowledged the efforts made so far by the country’s security chiefs in the battle against insurgents.
He, however, noted that in spite of full military engagement with Boko Haram and killer bandits, the threats appear to be overwhelming the country’s security agencies.
According to Wike, Boko Haram, bandits and killer herdsmen have continued to overrun communities, randomly killing and abducting helpless people.
He said that since insurgents had been destroying private and public property with relative ease, the Federal Government should take decisive action and end such menace.
“A country is as strong as its Armed Forces. Her inability to defeat the Boko Haram insurgency in spite of years of full military engagement shows that all is not well with our approaches and commitments to the battle against the internal insecurity.
“Today, therefore, also raises the need for all of us to be worried by the deteriorating security situation across the country and restate the call on the Federal Government to do everything necessary to bring the security threat by Boko Haram and armed bandits to a decisive end in the shortest possible time.
“We thank the Service Chiefs for their efforts so far in the battle against the insurgents,” Wike said.
“But we also align with the concern of citizens that having seemingly reached their wit end, they should now give way for fresh hands and ideas to give the fight the impetus that it so strongly needs to ensure that Boko Haram and killer bandits are comprehensively defeated and smoked out of existence.
“The time has come for the Federal Government to change strategy, seek help from our friends and confront the urgency of the internal insecurity situation in Nigeria with every weaponry at its disposal to stop the killing, free all hostages and improve the physical security of our country for all Nigerians,’’ he said.
Wike also said that Nigerians were gracious beneficiaries of the various sacrifices made by the armed forces personnel as they put their lives in line to defend the country.