Malam Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, has made an attempt to defend President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence at the burial of General Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff, and 10 other military officers.
The officers, who died in a plane crash in Kaduna on Friday, were buried in Abuja on Saturday but neither Buhari nor Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo attended the funeral.
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The absence of the president had triggered an outrage, especially on Social Media. Many had circulated pictures of past Nigerian presidents and even some world leaders attending the burials of those who died in the line of duty.
Speaking when he featured on an ARISE TV programme, Shehu said although he has not discussed the issue with Buhari, he knows the president hates causing gridlock.
He cited the instance of Buhari observing Juma’at at Aso Rock in order to avoid closure of roads.
“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 Juma’at 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.”