Molly Kilete, Abuja
The #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) group haS kicked against the continuous secret burial of soldiers killed by terrorists by authorities of the Nigerian Army.
The group, in a statement signed by its leaders, a former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Aisha Yesufu and Florence Ozor, also demanded that names of soldiers who paid the supreme price be released for proper honour as it obtains in other parts of the world.
The group, while demanding that military authorities make public the circumstances of their deaths to family members and Nigerians, wondered why several months after the Federal Government claimed to have technically defeated the insurgents, pictures of mass burial for troops killed by Boko Haram were still flying all over the place.
In the statement, the BBOG said, “The report of an ambush on our military by Boko Haram, almost a fortnight ago, was swiftly denied by the Military authority.
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“Unfortunately, photos of mass burials for fallen heroes emerged within the last six days without further information from the military authority.
“Were Nigerians not told that the military had won the war? What then is the reason for the escalation of attacks by the terrorists and the heightened loss of lives of citizens and our soldiers?
“The #BringBackOurGirls Advocacy has been consistent in voicing the correlation between the well-being of our troops, the rescue of our #ChibokGirls and the end of the insurgency.
“It is therefore disheartening that several months after the Federal Government’s announcement that Boko Haram has been technically defeated, we see pictures of a mass burial for our troops, killed by Boko Haram.
“Even as we write this statement, there is news of another ambush that has claimed more of our gallant soldiers.
“We therefore demand the following: The Military Authority should immediately confirm the number of our soldiers that have died within this month of July 2018.
“Their families and Nigerians should have a brief on the circumstances of their deaths as a means to healing, to have closure.
“Their names should be released for proper honour as obtains in other climes.
“We take exception to what is, to all intent, a secret burial of our fallen heroes.
“Those responsible for the safety of our troops should be sanctioned for this failure and measures must be put in place to prevent further deaths and damage to the morale of our troops.
“We question why the current status of our defence budget is at variance with the safety and wellbeing of our troops in this fight against Boko Haram.
“We still stand on the demand we have made previously, for the Federal Government to institute a monthly Counter-Terrorism Status Report to the Nigerian public.
“Finally, with the upsurge of attacks in the North East and killings in Zamfara, Kaduna, Plateau, Sokoto, Benue and Taraba, we pointedly ask what is the Federal Government’s strategy to stop the killings?
“This insurgency is more than 8 years, when will Nigeria’s enemy be truly defeated?
When will our 112 #ChibokGirls be rescued?
When will #LeahSharibu come home?
“May the souls of our gallant heroes rest in peace. We pray for comfort and fortitude for their families,” the group said.