Armed Forces Remembrance: Nigerians react as doves released by Buhari refuse to fly

Uba Group

BY LINUS CHIBUIKE

WHITE pigeons, released from the cage by President Muhammadu Buhari, during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day ceremony on Friday, in Abuja, refused to fly.

This has generated a debate across the country, with many people saying the birds were also protesting against the state of the nation and the current administration.

The President tried more than once to make the doves fly, as is the ritual during such ceremonies, but they did not fly.

At first, he threw one dove into the air but instead of flying, the bird landed back on top of the cage. The President then opened the cage roof for all the birds to fly, but they refused to. Instead, they sat on top of the roof of the cage.

A visibly tired President Buhari gave up trying and returned to his seat. Shortly after, a few of the birds flew.

Recall that in 2014, critics had also said that God had abandoned former President Goodluck Jonathan, when he released the birds and they also refused to fly.

In January 2015, the age-long ritual of releasing doves as a gesture of peace was changed when children visiting the Vatican joined the Pope to release balloons instead of doves.

The change followed an incident in the previous year when doves released together by children and Pope Francis were attacked by two other birds, a crow and a seagull, the Associated Press reported.

The episode had created unwanted attention for the Pope.

Pope John Paul II began the tradition of releasing doves to acknowledge efforts for peace worldwide.

“How will the birds fly? They are also aware that things are not right in the country. They are protesting the killings, hunger, COVID-19 pandemic and all. They are not necessarily protesting against Buhari,” Convener, MOFAN, Rasheedah AbdulWasih, said.