The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday, described the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari or any high-powered Federal Government delegation at the burial of officers and men of the 157 Task Force slain by Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists in Metele, Borno State, as “sad and totally unacceptable.”
Atiku had in a statement commiserated with the families of the fallen soldiers and the armed forces, praying God to grant them the fortitude to bear the losses.
He, however, carpeted President Buhari for failing to honour the “men of honour and valour” by taking a day to attend their funeral and fulfil his role as head of state, saying that the president by hosting Nollywood stars at the Villa a day before but refused to attend the funeral did not send the right signals.
“I appreciate Nollywood and I have personally done a lot, both in my private capacity and when I was vice president, to promote that vitally important industry. However, it does not send a right message to the men and women who are fighting for Nigeria if you can attend a get together of entertainers but you cannot find the time to honour those who make the peace we are benefitting from possible.
“I urge President Muhammadu Buhari to learn from French President, Emmanuel Macron, who on March 28, 2018 took a whole day off to attend the funeral of Lt Col Arnaud Beltrame, who was killed by a terrorist after a March 24, 2018 terror attack in the South of France.
“I am in deep mourning and my grief is further compounded by the fact that the Federal Government ignored my advice to them to declare a few days of national mourning so that the nation could pay its respects to these men who gave so much that we may have peace. But it is never too late to honour those who died for Nigeria,” Atiku said.