The Borno South Concerned Elders (BSCE) has defended the position of Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Ali Ndume that 847 slain soldiers were buried at a military cemetery in Borno State.
The group, however faulted claims by Amnesty International of a hidden mass burial for the soldiers, saying a data at the cemetry captures the exact number fo deaths sicne 2013.
Chairman of the Borno South Concerned Elders, Yakubu Kwanyang, in a statement, yesterday, in Abuja condemned unwarranted attacks and spurious allegations targeted at Senator Ndume over his recent disclosure on the number of slain soldiers fighting insurgents in the North East.
Ndume, had revealed that the committee discovered during a fact-finding mission to that 847soldiers were buried at a military cemetery in Bornu, but said there was no evidence of a secret mass burial as claimed by some organisations.
Ndume’s has disclosure generated reactions from nay quarters, including a rebuttal by the Army, and the National Democratic Front (NDF) who described the senator’s statement as an attempt to divert attention from “his dishonourable contributions to Boko Haram.”
The Bornu Elders, however described the attacks on Ndume as “misplaced and unconscionable.”
According to the BSCE Chairman, Yakubu Kwanyang, the figure quoted by Ndume is clearly written on the roll-call of the dead at the military cemetery and offered factual proofs of his claim.
“Our initial reaction was to ignore the unwarranted invectives since it is clear that the author is largely ignorant of the situations in Borno and the role Sen. Ndume has played and is still playing to restore hope and better the lots of our people.
“While we appreciate honest and constructive criticism of public officers, especially the elected ones, we consider it irresponsible for anyone or group to engage in falsehood to make disparaging statement that impinges on integrity of Senator Ndume and the institution of the Senate.
“It is nonsensical to associate Sen. Ndume with Boko Haram; he is not just a direct victim of Boko Haram’s atrocious activities having lost members of his immediate family, including his sister’s husband, he lost other innocent members of his constituency in Borno south to their murderous activities of insurgents.
The revelation of the figure of the slain heroes cannot be said to diminish our profound appreciation of their invaluable service to our fatherland, instead it is to prick the conscience of his colleagues in the chambers to respond positively by way of budgetary appropriation at the appropriate time,” The Bornu elders said.