The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has said Presidential Muhammadu Buhari’s absence at the burial of the slain soldiers in the Metele attack in Borno State is “unacceptable.”
Nineteen of the 23 slain soldiers were buried on Friday with neither Buhari nor Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in attendance.
And Atiku in a statement on Saturday noted that it was even more saddening that the federal government did not send a delegation to the ceremony.
“Today, I saw the pictures of the funeral of the 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,” Atiku said.
“May their souls rest in peace and may God grant their families fortitude at such a trying time.”
He added that he is “further pained that neither the President or his vice were 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 for 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 the presidency faulted Atiku’s condemnation of Buhari.
It said by visiting Borno State and the wounded soldiers, Buhari had shown enough leadership.
“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 the government and people of Borno State, addressed the troops at Maimalari Barracks as well as visited the convalescing gallant soldiers,” a statement from the presidency read.