The Defence Headquarters has denied a story making the rounds that the Nigerian Army buried over 1000 soldiers by night in unmarked graves, farmlands in North East.
The United States based Wall Street Journal had in its latest report, claimed that the soldiers were killed by Boko Haram and Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP) insurgents in recent attacks, but were secretly buried by the Nigerian Army in other to conceal the number of casualties the force suffered in the hands of the terrorist group.
Former Nigerian vice president Atiku Abubakar said the claims in the report must be investigated so that Nigerians can know “the true state of the war on terror.”
But in a statement on its Twitter handle on Thursday, Defence HQ spokesman Onyema Nwachukwu said “there are no secret graveyards in the North East Theatre” The statement read:
“The Defence Headquarters has noted with dismay an online article by ‘Wall Street Journal’ purporting that the Nigerian Military maintains secret graveyards in the North East theatre of operation.
“This insinuation can only emanate from an uninformed position of the author of the said publication. It therefore becomes necessary to inform the public that the Armed Forces of Nigeria has a rich and solemn tradition for the interment of our fallen heroes.
“Therefore, it must be unambigously clarified that the Armed Forces of Nigeria does not indulge in secret burials, as it is sacrilegious and a profanity to extant ethos and traditions of the Nigerian military.
“In tandem with the traditions of the Armed Forces, Fallen heroes are duly honoured and paid the last respect in befitting military funeral of international standard, featuring funeral parade, grave site oration, solemn prayers for the repose of departed souls by Islamic and Christian clerics as well as gun salutes, aside other military funeral rites.
“The cemetery described in the publication, which is situated in Maimalari military Cantonment is an officially designated military cemetery for the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the North East theatre, with a Cenotaph erected in honour of our fallen heroes.
“The official cemetery has played host to several national and international dignitaries, where wreaths were laid in honour of the fallen heroes. It is therefore a far cry from the sacrilegious impression being painted by ‘Wall Street Journal’.
“The Defence Headquarters therefore urges members of the Armed Forces and the general public to disregard such a misinformed publication and see it as a figment of the imagination of the writer, whose knowledge of military valued ethos and traditions is grossly misplaced.”