The Presidency has lampooned the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over its claim that President Muhammadu Buhari was trying to shield the country’s immediate past Service Chiefs from prosecution by appointing them as non-career ambassadors.
Buhari had sent the ex-Service Chiefs’ names to the Senate for confirmation as ambassadors-designate, despite calls on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute them for “crimes against humanity”.
A petition was specifically filed at the ICC against former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, over his role in the 2015 killing of many Shiites in Zaria and the October 20, 2020 alleged shooting of unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos State, by Nigerian soldiers.
The PDP and some prominent Nigerians, including former presidential aspirant, Omoyele Sowore, had accused Buhari of deliberately trying to give diplomatic immunity to the ex-Service Chiefs by appointing them as ambassadors.
But the Presidency, in a statement issued by Garba Shehu, described the allegations as laughable, adding that Buhari’s nomination of the ex-Service Chiefs was “widely praised”.
Shehu said, “How on earth can decent people run down hardworking professionals who have put in their best to defend their country? How can you run down your country and equate that with normal political dialogue and opposition?
“What is baffling about this false and baseless assertion is that this is coming, not from Boko Haram terrorists who the military kept largely in check and confined to a known section of the country, Sambisa, but from a so-called leading opposition party that fraudulently kept power for 16 years and is nursing the hope of one day returning to office as an elected government.
“What is more, under these corrupt politicians the insurgency conquered large swathes of territory-18 Local Government Areas.
“Pray, if a political party, in a blind search for power can spurn the interest of the nation, embrace the language of hate campaign against the country’s military as enunciated by the terrorists, as the PDP does, what will be left for the Boko Haram to do? PDP is doing Boko Haram’s work!”
The presidential aide noted that, “If the PDP has evidence of rights abuse against the military in the war against terrorists, wouldn’t it be beneficial to the nation that they publish such evidence instead of levying grave accusations without proves? (sic) And to ask, in whose interest are they making these accusations that lack any depth?
“To add, we don’t think the ICC, which these childish calls are being made needs to be lectured on democratic values and human rights by the PDP. Who are they, and what is their record in office to lecture anyone? Zaki Biam and Odi where thousands of citizens were on record, the genocide operation comes to mind. Did they report themselves to the ICC?
“PDP’s attacks on the ambassadorial nominations should be seen in the context of the opposition party’s track record as a university of liars, whose modus operandi is to propagate lies.
Shehu added that ,”The President is rewarding hard work and exceptional sacrifice by a set of military leaders who gave their best to the nation and will be remembered, sooner than later, for their contributions to the security and survival of Nigeria as one nation. They should be allowed to move to the next level.
“This is so that their examples will help to inspire others if given the opportunity to serve.”