The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Tuesday explained the reason for the absence of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari's (retd) at the burial of the late Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru on Saturday.
The media aide while justifying the absence of his principal stated that his presence would have caused an unusual distraction to the solemn ceremony.
The late CoAS and 10 other officers and crew members lost their lives on Friday evening following a fatal plane crash at the Kaduna International Airport.
The president's absence at the funeral in Abuja raised a lot of questions and condemnations from Nigerians on social media.
Many expressed displeasure that the president failed to honour the memory of the late CoAS who only held the post for five months after his appointment in January 2021.
However, in an interview on an Arise TV programme on Tuesday, Shehu disclosed that the president 'did not want to take away attention' at the burial.
He said, "I was in Europe myself on assignment and I have not spoken to the President on this but let me give you just one example: The President is somebody who is so concerned about the safety and wellbeing of ordinary Nigerians on the streets.
"Do you know why he now prays his Jumaat in the state house and doesn't go to the national mosque? 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.
"These are small things for many people but they are important for President Muhammadu Buhari. So, it is a mourning situation and the President didn't want to take away attention from that."
Buhari's Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari; governors and other dignitaries who travelled from their states were present at the funeral of Attahiru and the other military personnel were present at the burial.
The PUNCH reported that the President was represented by the Defence Minister, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd.).