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Secret burial of 1,000 soldiers happened in foreign media — Lawyer

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Mr Realwan Okpanachi, a constitutional lawyer in Abuja, has refuted the allegation that no fewer than 1,000 soldiers killed by Boko Haram were secretly buried in graves in the North East.

Okpanachi was reacting to the information about the killing and burial credited to a foreign medium, the Wall Street Journal.

The legal practitioner spoke with Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Abuja.

He said the incident happened only in a foreign medium where “our competent, well trained and investigative journalists in Nigeria with ears to the ground’’ could not hear.

“It is not done. Nigeria is not a banana republic that is not informed. We have competent journalists in this country and nothing eludes them, especially when lives are involved,’’ the lawyer said.

While describing the information as outrageous and fake, he said harbingers of such information planted it deliberately in the foreign media to portray a bad image of the administration outside.

“They knew they would not be able to plant such news in Nigeria, that’s why they went to foreign media just to embarrass the government.

“That is their aim and target, to embarrass this administration, to paint a negative picture before the international community,’’ Okapanach said.

According to Okpanachi, there is no reasonable mind in Nigeria that can believe that such number of soldiers could be slaughtered and buried secretly.

He said the nation’s security was above every interest be it in the government or opposition and should neither be compromised nor slaughtered.

He also criticised the speed and manner former vice president Atiku Abubakar was quick to issue a statement on the news, saying he should have verified its authenticity.

He said it baffled him that Atiku could receive such information without taking time to verify, without reaching out to the government to find out if it was true or not.

According to the lawyer, Atiku’s call for investigation is nothing but a sham and camouflage, saying the former VP had clearly identified, accepted and processed the information as true.

“He is now selling it to the public as his position, while condemning this administration without making any effort to investigate.

Okpanachi lamented that Atiku could accept such outrageous information and fake news over the killings and secret burial of no fewer than 1,000 soldiers.

He further said that Atiku was a former VP well connected to the securities and could easily have called the Chief-of Army Staff over the veracity of the allegation before issuing statements.

He could possibly have called Mr President to find out as a patriotic Nigerian and not to have gone to the press.

“It was an act of incitement and the fact that you’re in the opposition party doesn’t mean you don’t have limits.

“There are limits and the nation’s security is paramount,’’ he said.

SET/DCU

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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