Atiku Abubakar, the 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has reacted to the reported secret burial of about 1000 Nigerian soldiers.
The report published by an international news medium, World Street Journal, and perused by TODAY POLITICS, said personnel of the Nigerian Army waging war against terrorists, in the Northeast region of the country, were being buried secretly in a bid to cover deadly offensive by Boko Haram terrorists.
“Several of my comrades were buried in unmarked graves at night,” the news medium quoted a soldier from the Maimalari barracks, where more than 1,000 soldiers are based. “They are dying and being deleted from history.”
Reacting to the report, the former vice president commiserated with families of those who lost their loved ones.
The PDP candidate, who is challenging the outcome of the election in which he lost to President Muhammadu Buhari, also called for a probe into the reported incident.
“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,” the politician said in a statement he signed on Thursday.
“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.
“Shock, 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 of 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,” the former number two citizen popularly known as Atiku added.
The Nigerian Government headed by Mr Buhari, as at press time, is yet to react to the reported incident.