The Presidential Candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr Oby Ezekwesili, has asked the Federal Government to declare national mourning over the death of the soldiers who were killed by suspected Boko Haram terrorists.
Her reaction comes few days after a Boko Haram splinter group killed about 44 soldiers in Metele, a remote village near the border with the Niger Republic.
“We express our sympathy and condolence to the families and loved ones of the departed soldiers. They are another set of heroes who have sacrificed their lives for others to live. This calls for a sober reflection and declaration of mourning days by the government”.
She said the killing of the soldiers by the terrorist group does not speak well of the country’s internal security apparatus.
The presidential candidate, in a press statement to commiserate with families of the deceased, on Sunday, wondered why it took the military about a week to confirm the incident whose video already went viral.
Ezekwesili challenged the military authorities and the Commander-in-Chief to prove that they haven’t failed the nation’s soldiers.
While commiserating with families of the deceased, she demanded that the fallen heroes must not be deprived of their honour.
She noted that many questions were begging for answers with the recent killings of soldiers.
She asked the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to publish the names and authentic figures of fallen heroes for Nigerians to know the extent of damage and for record purposes.
“There are pertinent questions that the Federal Government and the military need to answer. How did this latest in a series of killings of our soldiers in the frontline of battle catch our country off-guard?
“Don’t we think the official line that the Presidency and military have been pushing on the state of the terrorism war is endangering our soldiers and nation? Can the government be more honest on the challenges it appears to be facing in prosecuting the war?
“It is no longer acceptable for our heroes to die and not be accorded the honour of gallantry. The FG and the military must accord full military burial rites to the fallen soldiers and also publish the list of others who have died and had been buried discretely in recent times without giving the Nigerian people the opportunity to celebrate their gallantry.
“The FG should immediately take measures to protect and preserve our soldiers, military establishments, our people and territory to avoid further deaths. It is time for a review of the current operational strategy being used to prosecute the war. It is also high time that our Intel was revamped.
“FG must take measures to assess the failure of leadership of the Service Chiefs – performance, accountability and consequence has been missing for far too long and must now change”, she added in her statement.
The Presidential candidate appealed to the military to improve on its intelligent gathering, which will be key to defeating the Boko Haram insurgency.
According to her, “Nigeria’s security operatives need to do more on intelligence gathering. It is one of the key apparatus that must not be missing while fighting terrorists.”
“The recent killing is a tragic and saddening occurrence and we pray to God to give the deceased family the fortitude to bear the loss.”
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