The Presidency has faulted the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, over his comments on the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari at the burial of the 19 soldiers killed by Boko Haram Terrorists in Melete, Borno State.
The soldiers were buried in Abuja on Friday.
In a statement be personally signed, Abubakar said the least Buhari could have done in memory of the soldiers was showing up at their burial.
But reacting to the position, a Presidency source said: “We have read the hypocritical press release signed by Mr Atiku Abubakar, accusing the government of Muhammadu Buhari of insensitivity by the failure of the President or the Vice President to attend the burial of the 19 military victims of Boko Haram.
“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 the government and people of Borno State, addressed the troops at Maimalari Barracks as well as visited convalescing gallant soldiers.
“This was a clear case of sensitive and responsible leadership.
“On the other hand however, when a similar number of troops (19 soldiers) were abducted and killed in October, 2001, neither he (Atiku Abubakar) or his boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo paid any tributes, not to talk of visiting the grieving family members of the martyred soldiers.
“Instead, they sent additional troops who rounded up the people of the town, and authorized an indiscriminate shooting as reprisals.
“As reported by the BBC at that time: ‘In four ethnic-Tiv villages in Benue, soldiers rounded up and killed over 200 unarmed civilians. Zaki Biam, a town of about 20,000 people, was completely destroyed.
“‘According to eyewitnesses, the military team came in eight armoured cars. They came to Anyiin first where they were said to have summoned all the villagers to Gbeji public square, claiming that they had an urgent message for them.
“‘As soon as the villagers were gathered, the troops asked all the women and children to leave and then opened fire on the men, killing 100. At another village, the village head, a blind old man who is uncle to the former army chief, General Victor Malu, was killed alongside his wife. Their bodies were burnt inside the house.’
“A BBC correspondent in Nigeria, Dan Isaacs, reported from Zaki Biam that ‘they have destroyed every single building. Everything is burned out—walls are still standing but everything has been gutted. They came in and shelled buildings. They shot buildings with rocket propelled grenades—there are bullet holes all around.’”