Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar
• Presidency Says PDP Flag Bearer Is A Hypocrite
• Fallen Heroes Paid Supreme Price To Protect Lives, Nation, Says Theatre Commander
Former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari for not showing up at the funeral of soldiers killed by Boko Haram.
A statement personally signed by former vice president in Abuja yesterday read: “Today, I saw the pictures of the funeral of officers and men of the 157 Task Force battalion of the Nigerian Army based in Metele and who were killed by Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists, and my heart went out to the men, their families and to our entire Armed Forces. May their souls rest in peace and may God grant their families fortitude at such a trying time.
“I am further pained that neither the President nor his vice was in attendance at the funeral, and that the Federal Government did not send a high-powered delegation to represent the government at the funeral.
“This is sad and totally unacceptable. This is beyond politics. This touches our shared humanity. What would it cost the President to take a day and fulfil his role as head of state by attending the funeral of such men of honour and valour?”
But in a swift reaction, the Presidency, yesterday, berated the PDP standard-bearer over his comments on the burial of 19 Soldiers killed by Boko Haram, describing him as a hypocrite.
Taking a swipe at Atiku, a Presidency source, who craved anonymity last night said: “The loss of the gallant soldiers, as President Buhari has said, is a national loss, on account of which he went to Maiduguri where he condoled with government and people of Borno State, addressed the troops at Maimalari Barracks, as well as visited convalescing gallant soldiers. This was a clear case of sensitive and responsible leadership.
“But when a similar number of troops (19 soldiers) were abducted and killed in October, 2001, neither Atiku nor his boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo paid any tributes, not to talk of visiting grieving family members of the martyred soldiers.“Instead, they sent additional troops who rounded up people of the town, and authorised indiscriminate shooting as reprisals.
Meanwhile, the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj-Gen. Bension Akinroluyo has said the 23 gallant fallen heroes paid the supreme price to protect peoples’ lives and nation against insurgency.