A former Vice President and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election, Atiku Abubakar, has called for a probe into allegations that the Nigerian Army secretly buried over 1000 soldiers.
The soldiers were allegedly killed by Boko Haram terrorists but were allegedly buried secretly by the Nigerian Army, in efforts to conceal the heavy casualties it suffered recently in the fight against insurgency.
The report was contained in the latest edition of the United States-based Wall Street Journal.
According to the paper, the dead soldiers were buried in the night in unmarked graves in farmlands.
Responding in a statement he personally signed on Thursday, Atiku said the report should be investigated.
He said, “To ensure that we get to the bottom of this matter, I urge that a Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by a non-partisan and reputable jurist, be inaugurated to investigate the findings of the Wall Street Journal.
“While this is occurring, I also strongly urge that a panel of inquiry comprising distinguished former military officers be set up to investigate and report to Nigerians the true state of the war on terror and what must be done to ensure Nigeria brings a speedy end to the ongoing insurgency.”
According to Atiku, the report “is a source of heart break for families and friends of the dead soldiers.
He went on to say that if the reports were true, a grave injustice had been done to the loved ones of the dead soldiers because they were not allowed to bury their dead or even have any sense of closure as regards their fate.
He said, “The men and women of our armed forces are our first, second and last defence against our domestic and foreign enemies and should be treated with love, respect, dignity and appreciation for the invaluable service they render to Nigeria.
“I cannot fathom that in the space of a year, 1000 of these great patriots were killed and buried secretly without their families being told. I hesitate to believe that deceit on such a grand scale is even possible.
“Nigeria must ensure prudent use of finances, so we can redistribute national resources in such a way that ensures that our military and security forces are well armed and well remunerated.
“Even the death of one soldier affects me. But the alleged cover-up of the deaths of one thousand soldiers is a national emergency that should shock all statesmen and leaders of thoughts into action to save Nigeria.”
The governing All Progressives Congress (APC) had recently accused Atiku of felony, saying that he has been making unpleasant statements against President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration.