The Nigerian Military has reacted to reports of alleged secret burial of about 1,000 of its personnel.
A foreign news medium had reported that soldiers killed by terrorists in the ongoing war against Boko Haram were buried secretly in order not to discredit the federal government’s position that the sect has been crushed.
Dismissing the claim of the news portal, the government through the Defense Headquarters, said the author of the publication is uninformed.
“The Defence Headquarters has noted with dismay an Online Article by “Wall Street Journal” purporting that the Nigerian Military maintains secret graveyards in the North East theatre of operation,” the military said in a statement reproduced on its social media accounts on Thursday.
“This insinuation can only emanate from an uninformed position of the author of the said publication. It therefore becomes necessary to inform the public that the Armed Forces of Nigeria has a rich and solemn tradition for the interment of our fallen heroes.
“Therefore, it must be unambigously clarified that the Armed Forces of Nigeria does not indulge in secret burials, as it is sacrilegious and a profanity to extant ethos and traditions of the Nigerian military.
“In tandem with the traditions of the Armed Forces, Fallen heroes are duly honoured and paid the last respect in befitting military funeral of international standard, featuring funeral parade, grave site oration, solemn prayers for the repose of departed souls by Islamic and Christian clerics as well as gun salutes, aside other military funeral rites.
“The cemetery described in the publication, which is situated in Maimalari military Cantonment is an officially designated military cemetery for the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the North East theatre, with a Cenotaph erected in honour of our fallen heroes.
“The official cemetery has played host to several national and international dignitaries, where wreaths were laid in honour of the fallen heroes. It is therefore a far cry from the sacrilegious impression being painted by “Wall Street Journal”
“The Defence Headquarters therefore urges members of the Armed Forces and the general public to disregard such a misinformed publication and see it as a figment of the imagination of the writer, whose knowledge of military valued ethos and traditions is grossly misplaced.Thank you,” it concluded.
The report is currently generating reactions among Nigerians including a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar.
In his reaction, Mr Abubakar, popularly known as Atiku, called for a probe on the report.