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Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari forwarded the name of Buratai, immediate past chief of army staff, together with others, for confirmation as non-career ambassadors.
The presidency had described their appointments as reward for hard work.
While speaking with reporters in Abuja over the weekend at a gala party organised in his favour by members of the 29th Regular Course Association of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Buratai, whose years of service were dotted with increased insecurity in the North-West, described his retirement as an honourable thing.
“It’s an honourable retirement and also an honourable appointment. I’m not a politician, so I have no word for the opposition. I have done well,” said Buratai, while reacting to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s criticism of his appointment.
He said there was a ‘compendium’ of his achievements documented at the Nigerian Defence Headquarters to speak for his stewardship.
“I am happy that in July last year, my officers at the Army headquarters compiled a compendium of my achievements.
“In fact, I can’t even remember all the projects that we have executed. Is it in terms of infrastructure? Is it in terms of capacity building? Is it in terms of training?
“Since I was appointed, there was never a dull moment in terms of training. Remember the various exercises. These are training exercises from ‘Python Dance,’ ‘Crocodile Smile’ and even the latest one ‘Exercise Sahel Sanity.’
Read Also: For the Nigerian Army under Buratai, loyalty to Buhari comes first before allegiance to nation
“Is it in the area of medical? In terms of education of our children and wards, the Nigerian Army University are all great achievements.” He said that books could be written about his achievements.
In its report last December, the Amnesty International (AI) had accused and indicted Buratai-led army of committing war crimes against older people in his war against Boko Haram in the North-East.
The 67-page report tilted, ‘My heart is in pain’: Older People’s Experience of Conflict, Displacement, and Detention in Northeast Nigeria, showed how older people were starved or slaughtered in their homes or left to languish and die in squalid, unlawful military detentions.
Also, in November 2020, Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), announced that her office had enough evidence to open a probe into human right abuses perpetrated by members of the Nigeria Security Forces (NSF) in Nigeria.
According to an issued statement, the ICC said its preliminary investigation into the situation in Nigeria had revealed that members of security forces were culpable of committing what she described as ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘war crimes.’
Reacting, Buratai had accused the ICC of distracting the Nigerian Army, saying that he was not afraid of any probe by the International court.
But the AI is not alone. Twitter users on Monday said Buratai’s time as head of the army was brutal. While reacting to a news post on Twitter about Buratai’s achievements, users criticised the former army chief for various offences.
A Twitter user, Ibukunshine, with the handle @Ibukunshine, alleged that “All Nigerian (sic) is aware of your achievement and they are as follows: Shite massacre, Lekki toll gate massacre, Oyigbo massacre, flopping (sic) in the war against BH, flopping in the war against bandit, excorting Fulani terrorists to villages to forcefully graze crop.”
Nathaniel Olawuwo, with a Twitter handle @NOIawuwo, said the book being written about him “will narrate how you ordered the killing of innocent peaceful protester’s at Lekki toll gate.”
Another Twitter user, Owoichoyaale with the handle @owoichoyaale, referenced the events of October 20, 2020, at Lekki toll gate as one too hard to forget.
“Obviously, books will be written, stories told about the massacre of unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll gate on 20/10/2020, because your boys who you ditch out (sic) orders to committed the evil against humanity…. Can’t wait to see you told arms facing the ICC…”
Though all these are allegations, Buratai is accused majorly of supervising the killings hundreds of young Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) members in Onitsha and Okigwe, South-East Nigeria, including members of the Shiites religious sect in Kaduna. He is also accused of ordering the shooting of protesters of police brutality in Lekki on October 20, 2020.