DHQ replies Wall Street Journal : No secret cemetery in Maiduguri

A typical military burial in Nigeria

A typical military burial in Nigeria

A typical military burial in Nigeria

The Defence Headquarters has debunked a report by US based Wall Street Journal accusing Nigerian military of burying, nocturnally, over 1000 soldiers, victims of Boko Haram, in a secret cemetery in Maiduguri.

It said the cemetery in question is in Maimalari Cantonment and is not a secret cemetery, as it is the official cemetery of the armed forces.

Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, director of Defence Information described the report ‘uninformed” and said contrary to the insinuation contained in the report, the armed forces of Nigeria do not indulge in secret trials.

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria has a rich and solemn tradition for the interment of our fallen heroes. Therefore, it must be unambiguously 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”, Nwachukwu said.

“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.

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“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”.

In a reaction earlier today, former Vice-president Atiku Abubakar challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the reported secret burial of 1,000 Nigerian soldiers killed by Boko Haram and ISWAP.

A statement the former vice president signed on Thursday said the Wall Street Journal report on the matter was saddening and that the attempt to hide the true state of the war on terror was heartbreaking and shocking.