The Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu has disclosed that the reason for the President’s absence from the Chief of Army Staff burial was due to the possibility of causing traffic and closing the roads. The burial of the late Chief of Army Staff, Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 other senior officers which took place on Saturday, May 22nd was neither attended by the President nor his Vice and this has sparked so much outrage from Nigerians. Responding to the outburst from Nigerians on the President’s absence, Garba Shehu said,
“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 Jumaat 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.”
The President was represented by the Minister of Defence, Salihi Magashi. Other dignitaries present at the burial ceremony which took place at the National Mosque and National Christian Centre, Abuja include; the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Dambazzau, the Executive Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum, the Executive Governor of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni, the Chief of Staff to the President Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the Senate President Ahmad Lawan, the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, wives of former Service Chiefs, the Inspector General of Police Usman Akali Baba, the Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Speaker Kaduna State House of Assembly, Hon Yusuf Zelahi.
Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru died in a plane crash in Kaduna while on official assignment.