WASHINGTON (TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA)– The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has described the report of a secret burial of over 1000 soldiers in Maiduguri, Borno State, as a mischievous smear campaign against the military authorities and targeted at the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
In the same vein, the group also accused the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, of invidiously latching on an unverified report to fuel his penchant for attacking government institutions for political reasons.
BMO said in a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke that it was surprising that some Nigerians are castigating the military on the basis of a report that is filled with mischiefs and obvious misalignments.
“A cursory look through the WSJ report showed that it has a lot of loopholes that do not support the claim of secret burial of more than 1,000 soldiers killed in action.
“The defence authorities have never denied that soldiers have died in action since the war against insurgency began long before President Buhari assumed office in 2015 but it is not only specious and mischievous to provide a number that can only be provided by relevant authorities.
“Surprisingly, the reporter admitted that he neither spoke with the Presidency nor defence headquarters yet he came up with a number that some Nigerians have opted to accept as the gospel truth even after the military had debunked the claims.
“We need to point out that if indeed over 1000 soldiers were secretly buried in the way WSJ puts it, there would have been a major mutiny by soldiers especially those living in the Maimalari Military Cantonment where the cemetery mentioned in the report is said to be located.
“We, however, know that there is a military cemetery where our fallen heroes have, in recent times, been buried with honour in line with the tradition of the Armed Forces, and if indeed, the American publication claimed there is a secret graveyard elsewhere, it would be ideal for it to reveal the exact location,” the group added.
BMO also took a swipe at former Vice President Abubakar for jumping on the claims made by the Wall Street Journal to attack the Buhari administration.
It said: “This is not the first time that a man who once held the exalted office of Vice President would be launching unjustified attack on an institution he longed to head as Commander-in-Chief.
“His penchant for dancing on the grave of our fallen heroes is becoming worrisome and this particular one amounts to playing to the gallery even after affirming that the report may not necessarily be true.
“Atiku had already concluded that there was a cover up by the military authorities but couched his belief in a watery call for a judicial probe. Does he honestly believe that a military he once praised as one of the best in the world would demean the patriotic sacrifices of its officers and men killed in action by burying them like common criminals in unmarked graves?
“If, indeed, it is true that the death of one soldier affects the former Vice President like he claimed in his response to the report, then he should have exercised some restraint before jumping on an unverified publication that was clearly targeted at belittling the efforts of the courageous men and women fighting to keep the nation as one.
“We are tempted to believe that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has seen the futility of his efforts to have President Buhari’s electoral victory overturned by the Presidential election tribunal and has now resorted to maligning critical government institutions just to instigate Nigerians against the President.
“This is exactly what he had in mind when he wrote ‘the alleged cover-up of the deaths of scores of soldiers is a national emergency that should shock all statesmen and leaders of thoughts into action to save Nigeria.’The pro-Buhari group also urged other Nigerians toeing the line of the PDP Presidential candidate to reconsider their stance in the national interest