Nigeria: No Secret Graveyards in Northeast - Defence HQ

Nigerian soldiers (file photo).
2 August 2019

Abuja — The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has debunked a report of a secret cemetery for soldiers killed by Boko Haram in the North East zone.

An online article by "Wall Street Journal" had claimed that the Nigerian military maintains secret graveyards in the North East theatre of operation.

But the director Defence Information, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said that the misleading publication stemmed from an uninformed position of the author.

Nwachukwu said: "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,"

He explained 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."

The DHQ director said that in strict adherence to 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", he said

Nwachukwu, therefore, urged members of the armed forces and the general public to disregard the publication and see it as a figment of the imagination of the writer, whose knowledge of military valued ethos and traditions is grossly misplaced.

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