Benue governor Samuel Ortom has apologized to the families of 12 soldiers killed in Bonta village in Konshisha, saying he got the numbers wrong in an earlier claim that only two soldiers were involved.
In particular, he asked forgiveness from families of the slain soldiers uncomplimentary comments he may have made in the course of the situation, noting that he said that based on the information available to him at that time.
“If I said anything that was offensive to the families, I ask for their forgiveness,” he said.
“I earlier said only two soldiers were involved based on the information available to me at that time.”
He also apologised to President Muhammadu Buhari and the chief of army staff.
Ortom made the apology at the burial of the slain military personnel at the Military Cemetery in Wurukum area of Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
The bodies of the 12 military personnel including one Captain Adeolu Adedayo and 11 soldiers were interred in the presence of the Governor, Commander of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), Major General Adeyemi Yekini, the Commanding Officer, 72 Battalion, other military personnel as well as family members of the deceased soldiers.
“We condemn the killing of the soldiers who were out to maintain peace. Attack on security men is attack on all. The attack was uncalled for and unwarranted,” he said.
“They were out to keep peace and got killed in the process otherwise, we all know what soldiers would ordinarily do in such a situation,” he said.
The governor passionately appealed to the families of the deceased soldiers to forgive him for uncomplimentary comments he may have made in the course of the situation, noting that he said that based on the information available to him at that time.
At the funeral service, Chaplain of 72 Battalion, Major Ibrahim Mavisky, as well as the Imam, Captain AA Bashir, both emphasised that there is time to be born and time to die stressing, “We brought nothing to this world and we shall surely leave with nothing.”
The clerics added, “These people died innocently and without any offense. It is the promise of God that each of us has a stipulated time to go. We will all go back to God someday and explain how we live our lives. God will console the entire Nigerian Army and the immediate families they left behind.
“The slain soldiers were out to serve the nation but were cut short. We therefore pray for their souls and that God should grant them eternal rest.”