President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo were conspicuously missing from the Saturday’s burial of late Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, and 10 other officers who died in an air crash in Kaduna State on Friday evening.
Top military sources told SaharaReporters that contrary to widespread insinuations of insecurity and sudden nature of information, Presdient Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo had more “personal reasons” why they both did not attend the last respect to the country’s army chief.
The 21st Chief of Army Staff, Attahiru, who died alongside seven other army officers, was buried on Saturday and Buhari was represented by Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Bashir Magashi (retd.).
The former army chief died in a crash on Friday while travelling to the Depot Nigerian Army, Zaria, Kaduna State, for the passing-out parade of regular recruits which was then slated for Saturday.
Attahiru died in a Nigerian Air Force Beechcraft 350 aircraft crash at the Kaduna State International Airport and there was no survivor on the plane.
Military sources said Buhari’s absence at the burial was borne out of his own challenging health problems and personal issues.
“Buhari had a four-day exhaustive trip to France and he came back only on Thursday. No doubt that the journey wore him out. To the presidency, he was taking a deserved rest, even though the venue of the event was less than 30 minutes to the Aso Rock Villa.
“President Buhari himself has a challenging health and part of the advice given to him in Paris must have been to take quality rest before public functions. But if it were to be a very close relation or his family member, nobody would remember health advice. To save his face, he now sent his wife and children on a condolence visit, and put forward a phone call to Attahiru’s widow,” a source said.
“At about the same time of the burial, Osinbajo too was in Lagos State and visited the Reddington Hospital where he spent hours. Buhari and Osinbajo’s coincidental absence at the army chief’s burial has raised disaffection in the military where we value our top officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” another stated.
SaharaReporters had reported that Osinbajo was at Reddington Hospital for his annual medical checkup, according to a source in the Presidency.
On Sunday, Mrs Fati Ibrahim Attahiru, the wife of the late Chief of Army Staff (COAS), and the spouses of the other deceased officers (through her) had a telephone conversation with the President to again console them over