The explanation by the Presidency on President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence from the burial of late Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru has turned out to be a ruse.
In May, Buhari shunned the funeral of Attahiru, who died in a military plane crash near the Kaduna airport.
The ill-fated aircraft was carrying the then COAS and nearly a dozen officers, including aides. The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) called for an investigation.
The Nigerian leader’s failure to attend the final rites for Attahiru was widely condemned. The deceased was in office for only four months.
Citizens wondered why Buhari, a retired General, did not physically pay his last respect to an incumbent Army chief who passed away while on official duty.
In his response, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said his principal dislikes the idea of closing roads and security men molesting people for right of way.
”The president is somebody who is so concerned about the safety and wellbeing of ordinary Nigerians on the streets.
“Because he doesn’t like this idea of closing roads, security men molesting people on the road for the president to have the right of way”, Shehu claimed.
But on Friday, as the President headed to Kano for the wedding of his son, Yusuf and Zahra Bayero, the road leading to Abuja airport was shut.
Motorists, commuters, logistics operators, among others, were caught in a gridlock that lasted hours.
“Missed my flight, I am so pissed. Some people probably had health emergencies. Our leaders make those who put them in power suffer, it’s really bad”, a citizen, Hassan, fumed.
Many got to their destinations – airport, hospitals, shops, schools, workplaces, appointment venues – behind schedule.
Presidential movements cause heavy traffic in the nation’s capital and other states. Security personnel usually block the road hours before the motorcade passes.
That of flight landing is worse as controllers advise pilots, regardless of plane status and fuel level, to remain in the air until they get clearance to land.
Yusuf and Zahra’s union will take place Friday afternoon after Jummah prayers, amid the surging third wave of COVID-19.
Since the outbreak in 2020, Kano has been one of the worst hit states in terms of numbers of cases and deaths.
In early August, the federal government placed the state, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on red alert.