*matron says 2,000 already registered with foundation, as official launching takes place
Founder of the Lt. Col. Kabir Yusuf Help For Heroes Foundation, Alhaji Moshood Yusuf has said that besides the support being given to widows of late military officers, he has finalised plans to build capacity of those interested in acquiring skills that they will use to earn livelihood.
He disclosed this while fielding questions from newsmen after the official launching of the foundation at the 1 Division Officers Mess in Kaduna on Saturday.
“I will speak with the widows one-on-one to know their needs. I have also spoken to the officers wives and we have decided that some of them need skills acquisition,” he informed.
According to him, already plans are in top gear and he has started consultation with wives of slain officers in respect of the training.
Alhaji Yusuf, who a veteran from the British Military said that his desire to assist widows of slain military personnel was borne out of pains he feels when he loses people.
“I am ex military officer of the British Armed Forces. I know what it is to lose people. I lost a brother in the Nigerian Army and lost colleagues in the British Army. I feel the pains of those they left behind and I am using this to support the widows because they need someone to stand by them,” he said.
Yusuf, who is brother to late Lt. Col. Kabir Yusuf, when asked how he intends to sustain the gestures, said that they will be reaching out to public spirited individuals and corporate organisations for support.
Matron of the foundation, Hajia Shola Raji said that already no fewer than 2,000 widows have registered with the foundation.
She said the women are not just drawn from Kaduna is the North, but all over Nigeria.
“It is for widows of late military personnel from all over Nigeria. As you can see, we have some here from Jos, Bauchi, Kogi, Lagos and all over the country,” she emphasized.
Hajia Raji though the Armed Forces are doing their best in catering for the widows, they are filling in some gaps by complementing the gestures.
“Armed forces are doing their best, ours is to complement them. We need support from government and public spirited individuals. No contribution is too small, even N500 or a measure of rice,” she said.
Earlier in her welcome address, she said that the foundation was established to immortalise the late military officer, who died in active service exactly one year ago.
She said it was a time for sober reflection, stressing that though the task ahead was challenging, they were committed to achieving their aims and objectives through support from all.
Wife of late Lt. Col. Kabir Yusuf, Bashirat, could not hold back her tears when being interviewed. She broke down emotionally, but told reporters that the foundation was floated to immortalise not just her husband, but other military personnel that died serving the nation.
When asked how she has been faring since his demise, she said life has been fair to her and their kids and the military and family have been of assistance
On her late husband’s entitlement, she said that so far, his life insurance and some others gave been paid, but the gratuity was still pending.
Another widow, Mrs. Mary, wife of late Squadron Leader B B. Ado said that since her husband died five years ago, it has not been very easy.
“My husband died five years ago, by May it would be exactly five years. Life has not been easy because of challenges but I thank God for family and the Nigerian Air Force.
Earlier at the official launch of the foundation which also commemorates one year since the demise of late Lt. Col. Kabir Yusuf, tributes poured in from several quarters.
Most outstanding was that of members of 49 Course, his course mates, who recalled how the journey began with him in 1997 as cadets at the Nigerian Defence Academy.
Governors of Kaduna and Kogi states were represented at the historic event, which also attracted clerics, senior military officers, family members and colleagues from within and outside the country.
It would be recalled that before the official launch on Saturday, the foundation which commence activities in 2017 had embarked on intervention to mitigate challenges being faced by widows on several occasions.