The presidency has explained why President Muhammadu Buhari did not attend the funeral of late chief of army staff Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 other military officers who died in an air crash.
The Nation had earlier reported that there was furore over the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Yemi Osinbajo at the funeral ceremony, in which many Nigerians, who condemned the action, described it as ‘lack of empathy.’
Although Buhari had in a statement released 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 other observers wondered why the president who last week returned to Abuja from France 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.
Reacting, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu who spoke at Arise TV programme monitored by The Nation, hinted that the president does not like “this idea of closing roads, security men molesting people on the road” whenever he is out for an event outside Aso Rock.
He said: “I was in Europe myself on assignment and I have not spoken to the president on this but let me give you just one example: The president is somebody who is so concerned about the safety and wellbeing of ordinary Nigerians on the streets.
“Do you know why he now prays his Jumaat in the state house and doesn’t go to the national mosque? Because he doesn’t like this idea of closing roads, security men molesting people on the road for the president to have the right of way.”
“These are small things for many people but they are important for President Muhammadu Buhari. So, it is a mourning situation and the president didn’t want to take away attention from that,” he added.