Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to tell Nigerians “the truth” on how his government allegedly buried about 1000 Nigerian soldiers killed by the Islamic State’s West Africa Province-affiliated Boko Haram insurgents. The Wall Street Journal had reported on Wednesday that at least 1,000 soldiers have been buried at a “secret” military graveyard in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
The newspaper quoted a solider as saying, “Several of my comrades were buried in unmarked graves at night,” adding that, “They are dying and being deleted from history.” Reacting, Atiku took to his official Facebook page to express shock at the report. The 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemned the Buhari administration for he described as “deceit on such a grand scale”.
Atiku’s statement reads: “I read the report by the Wall Street Journal that over a thousand Nigerian soldiers have been secretly buried at night by the General Muhammadu Buhari led administration, in order to hide the true state of the war on terror, with a sense of heartbreak and shock. “Heartbreak for the families and friends of those soldiers who, if the report is true, have lost their loved ones, without being allowed to bury them or even to have any sense of closure as regards their fate.
I was Really “Shocked that such a thing could happen under a democracy, such as Nigeria is supposed to be. I shudder to think that the cover-up of such an event of epic proportions can be true. “The men and women of our armed forces are our first, second and last defence against our domestic and foreign enemies and should be treated with love, respect, dignity and appreciation for the invaluable service they render to Nigeria.
“I cannot fathom that in the space of a year, 1000 of these great patriots were killed and buried secretly without their families being told. I hesitate to believe that deceit on such a grand scale is even possible. “To ensure that we get to the bottom of this matter, I urge that a Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by a non-partisan and reputable jurist, be inaugurated to investigate the findings of the Wall Street Journal.
While this is occurring, I also strongly urge that a panel of inquiry comprising distinguished former military officers be set up to investigate and report to Nigerians the true state of the war on terror and what must be done to ensure Nigeria brings a speedy end to the ongoing insurgency. “Nigeria must ensure prudent use of finances, so we can redistribute national resources in such a way that ensures that our military and security forces are well armed and well remunerated.
“Even the death of one soldier affects me. But the alleged cover-up of the deaths of one thousand soldiers is a national emergency that should shock all statesmen and leaders of thoughts into action to save Nigeria.” Meanwhile, the WSJ report is coming less than two weeks after the Army confirmed the killing of five Nigerian soldiers in an ambush by ISWAP. The attack, which occurred in the Jakana area of Borno state, led to the death of Colonel Kenneth Eze Elemele, a captain and three other soldiers of the 29 Taskforce Brigade in Borno State.
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media