“Buhari lacks empathy” – Reactions over President’s absence at Chief of Army Staff funeral in Abuja

An ex-aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, Saturday, questioned why President Muhammadu Buhari travelled to Paris recently but was unable to make it to the burial of his late Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, in Abuja on Saturday.

Omokri tweeted, “Sad that President Muhammadu Buhari did not attend the burial of the late Chief of Army Staff, (Lieutenant) General Attahiru. He was represented by his Defence Minister (Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd.)).

Nigeria’s Chief of Army staff Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 other officers were killed Friday in a plane crash, the military said late Friday in a statement issued . Attahiru and ten other military personnel died a day after – Friday – when a Beachcraft 350 aircraft crashed at the Kaduna International Airport.

Attahiru was buried at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja on Saturday afternoon in accordance to Islamic rites.

The military officials were en route to the capital, Abuja, after making an official trip to Kaduna state.NewsWireNGR recalls that in February, a King Air 350 military jet crashed in Abuja, the capital, killing all seven crew members, while in March another military plane went off radar during a mission against insurgents in northern Nigeria. The aircraft is yet to be found.

Former Chairman of Nigeria’s Human Rights Commission, Mr Chidi Odinkalu wrote Saturday on twitter, “I too cannot understand how @MBuhari can travel to France but not be available to travel inside Abuja for the burial of his own Chief of Army Staff, #COAS. What #SecretCult forbids him….?!”

In a statement issued by the Presidential Spokesman, Garba Shehu shortly after the crash, Shehu wrote, “President Muhammadu Buhari is deeply saddened over the air crash that claimed the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, and other military officers”.

Nigerians had hoped the President will show up at the funeral that held about 5 minutes drive from the National Mosque Abuja a close proximity to the Presidential Villa Abuja.

His absence has elicited more reactions from Prominent Nigerians who wondered why the President was unable to pay his last respect to the nations Army Chief who died while in service.

Nigerian Journalist and Publisher of Daily Nigerian, Jafaar Jafaar tweeting with the hashtag BuhariLacksEmpathy, recalled that, 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. #BuhariLacksEmphathy for Nigerians ” he stated.

“In December 2015, @MBuhari attended the funeral service of former President of Benin Republic, Gen. Mathew Kerekou, but shunned the funeral of former Nigerian President Shehu Shagari in 2018 #BuhariLacksEmphathy” Jafaar added.

The incident happened as the plane was trying to land in bad weather, the military said. Ten other officers, including the plane’s crew also died. But the site of the crash has been taken over by the military for further investigations.

A Journalist with HumAngle, Abdullahi Murtala also noted that, the President didn’t attend the Janazah prayer and Burial of his Chief of Army.

“The CinC has maintained a terrible attitude of not attending the burial of fallen service personnel” his tweets read.

Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru was born on 10 August 1966 in Doka, Kaduna North Local Government Area, Kaduna State. He was a graduate of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Armed Forces Command and Staff College , and Nigerian Army School of Infantry.

He commenced officer cadet training in January 1984 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in December 1986 as an Infantry Officer.

He held a Masters’s degree in Strategic Management and Policy Studies from the Nigerian Defence Academy.

He also attained a Masters of Science in Human Resources Management and Development from Salford University in the United Kingdom and a Graduate Diploma in International Studies from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.

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