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Atiku Attacks Buhari On Negligence Over Honoring Dead Soldiers

President Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressives Congress, APC presidential candidate and his Peoples Democratic Party, PDP rival, Atiku Abubakar, were yesterday locked in an exchange over the honor given to military personnel killed in the fight against insecurity.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

The exchange came as the PDP candidate vowed to use job creation to fight the scourge of insecurity in the country. The tussle followed President Buhari’s absence at the burial of five air force officers who died in a helicopter crash while providing support for ground troops in the fight against Boko Haram.

Atiku said the President’s absence at the funeral and other engagements to honor dead military officers did not reflect the role of the commander-in-chief who he said should help to mobilize morale for men in arms. He cited an example with President Emmanuel Macron of France who he said attended the funeral of a French policeman killed by terrorists.

He was immediately dismissed by Buhari who flayed the immediate past PDP administration of providing the fodder for the killings through what he described as the corruption that prevailed during its time in office. He said the money that should have been used to fight terrorism was embezzled by the PDP administration.

The five air force officers who died last week were buried at the national military cemetery in Abuja on Tuesday. The former vice-president said Buhari’s failure to attend the funeral is “part  of a pattern of unpatriotic behavior demonstrated” by him

“At a time when the morale of our soldiers should be lifted up as they face the difficult task of defeating the terrorists who are threatening our national security, I find it most regrettable that President Muhammadu Buhari, despite being in Abuja, chose not to attend the funeral of the five air-force officers who died in a helicopter crash while prosecuting the war on terror.

“Last month, I had cause to advise the President to find time to attend the funerals of the hero soldiers of the 157 Task force Battalion in Metele, Borno state, who paid the supreme price for Nigeria in large numbers.

“Sadly, due to reasons best known to him, President Buhari chose not to attend their funeral, neither was he represented by the vice-president nor any federal delegation. This was despite the fact that the President had time to host Nollywood actors and actresses the previous day. Imagine celebrating just before such a solemn event.

“The most recent funeral held in Abuja, the President was in Abuja on the day of the funeral. The  previous day, he had inaugurated his re-election campaign council. My question for Mr. President is this: is securing your second term, more important to you than securing Nigeria?”

Abubakar urged Buhari to learn from French President Emmanuel Macron, who on March 28,  2018, attended the funeral of a French policeman killed by terrorists in Southern France.

“That single event boosted the morale of the French security forces, because it showed a commitment to their well-being and honor for their memory by the head of state. Very sadly, President Buhari missed another opportunity to demonstrate such commitment to our armed forces

“Let me end this by commending our military for their sacrificial efforts to secure all of us. You have my full support and solidarity.”

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