The absence of President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice Yemi Osinbajo at the funeral ceremony of Late Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, has drawn the ire of Nigerians.
Many Nigerians, who condemned the action, described it as ‘lack of empathy.’
Others criticised some Governors, Ministers and lawmakers who attended the wedding ceremony of a son of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in Kano State over the weekend.
The Nation reports the Islamic funeral service was held at the National Mosque, Abuja for the late army chief and five others who were Muslims
The Christian burial rites held at the Nigerian Air Force Protestant Church, Abuja for the officers who were Christians.
Among government officials at the funeral rites were Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha; Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari; Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and Minister of Communications and Digital Strategy, Isa Pantami.
Others were Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar; Senate President, Ahmed Lawan as well as Borno, Kaduna, Yobe and Kebbi Governors.
The military officers were later laid to rest at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja on Saturday.
Buhari, had in a statement by his spokesman Femi Adesina, expressed sadness over the air crash condoling with families of the deceased, the military and Nigerians in general, describing them as “heroes who paid the ultimate price for peace and security in the land.”
But Nigerians were displeased over the President’s absence at the funeral rites.
Some wondered why the President, who returned to Abuja from France on Thursday where he attended the African Finance Summit, did not attend the burial of his top military chief and other military personnel who died on duty.
Meanwhile, there was yet to be an official explanation for their – Buhari and Osinbajo – absence.
Reacting, former Kaduna lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani advised: “The President should visit the bereaved families of the late COAS and other deceased officers, in order to make up for that unconscionable absence at the interment.”
An ex-aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri tweeted: “Sad that General @MBuhari did not attend the burial of the late Chief of Army Staff, General Attahiru.
“He was represented by his Defence Minister. Attahiru died serving Nigeria. Buhari, who went to Paris for 4 days, could not go to Attahiru’s funeral for 30 minutes” he added.
Journalist Jaafar Jaafar said: “In January 2016, Buhari attended the memorial service of 100 Kenyan soldiers killed by Alshabab but didn’t attend the funeral/memorial service for hundreds of Nigerian soldiers killed by Boko Haram in Gudunbali in November 2015. #BuhariLacksEmpathy for Nigerians!
Popular blogger, Japhet Omojuwa, tweeted: “If you can go to France, you can attend the burial of your COAS + others and use that platform as an opportunity to reassure your troops whilst celebrating the loss of our gallant men. But I shouldn’t tweet this. I shouldn’t attract unnecessary negative energy to my timeline.”
Another commentator Chuks Akunna said: “As if the death of Army Chief Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru & other officers isn’t tragic enough, C-in-C Buhari refused to attend their burial. Lesson 101: Die for Nigeria, die in vain.
Somto Onuchukwu said “This funeral of former Chief of Army staff held in Abuja, Buhari and his VP Osinbajo were absent. The most irresponsible govt in the history of this country.
Rights activist, Comrade Deji Adeyanju lamented: “Your COAS died in the line of duty but you couldn’t attend his burial. It’s not like the man went on a voyage or frolic of his own. These Generals & officers died serving the country. Na wa ooo. I’m just speechless for Buhari & his people.
Sodiq Tade alleged: “Buhari doesn’t care about anybody aside his ambition to become a ‘democratic elected’ President. He derives joy in traveling abroad to take pictures while contributing nothing globally. His failure to show up at the funeral of these Generals further revealed his selfishness.
Commentator FS Yusuf also stated that “Buhari’s absence at the Chief of Army funeral would pass a very strong demotivating message to the Nigerian Military especially the troops fighting insurgency at the frontline. This is to tell you that this man values no fucking soul in this country. There was a country
“Buhari not attending the funeral of his own Chief of Army Staff should be more of an issue of concern to the rest of his cabals not ordinary Nigerians. The consistent lack of empathy he has shown on lives of Nigerians lost to insecurity is enough stone for us to keep chewing, ” Abdool Moh argued.