The doves, otherwise known as white pigeons, released by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day ceremony, refused to fly despite multiple attempts by the President thereby sparking a debate on social media on Friday.
The President had opened the birdcage at the National Arcade, picked up one of the doves, and thrown it into the air but the bird landed atop the cage and refused to fly.
Buhari, who was eager to let the white pigeons fly, opened the roof of the cage in a bid to send them all out but the birds remained adamant and decided to sit on top of the cage’s roof.
The President, who appeared tired of trying, soon left the birds and returned to his seat. Moments after the President had left, however, some of the birds flew.
The ritual of releasing doves is to commemorate the life of a departed loved one and is common at significant events like funerals or memorials. It also signifies peace.
— Channels Television (@channelstv) January 15, 2021
Studies show that domesticated doves which are used to living in cages are not always keen on flying.
The Vatican stopped the ritual in 2014 when Pope Francis released two birds that would not fly out of the window of the papal apartment and required several attempts to get the birds to fly out over a crowd of spectators.
A similar incident occurred just the year prior at an event where Pope Benedict XVI released doves during a Holocaust remembrance event. The doves were attacked by a gull, with one dove being singled out and injured, according to Wikipedia.
In 2014, the doves refused to fly when former President Goodluck Jonathan freed them. The Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry Enugu, Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka, described the incident at the time as a sign that God had abandoned Jonathan.
The refusal of the birds to fly on Friday, however, sparked thousands of comments on social media.
A former presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, Adamu Garba, said the birds should be eaten if they cannot do what they were trained to do.
“The pigeons are tired and overtime became lazy, they don’t want to fly the spirit of The Nigerian Flag. We should roast them at Suya joint and deploy Crowwe for action,” he said.
Social media personality, Morris Monye, said the Department of State Services would have arrested the pigeons for embarrassing the President if they could.
“I guarantee you… If it was possible, the DSS would arrest the pigeons for such an affront on the President. But really, is there peace, harmony, and security in the land?” he asked.
A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, who is a known critique of the President, also tweeted, “Hmmm. Even the pigeons in Nigeria.”
Birds love to fly.
Caged birds will fly once the cage is open.
My man opened the cage, they even tried to push the pigeons to fly. Omo them no gree 😭😭😭.
Pigeon no wan make bandit nab them, where papa pigeonma wan see 4M this Dry season.
— Pastor Ola ✨ (@Biisi96) January 15, 2021
Let me tell you the symbolic reason why pigeons are released to fly.
It is to signify peace, harmony and security in the country.
The pigeons refused to fly!
— Morris Monye💙 (@Morris_Monye) January 15, 2021
Dem go find videos of where pigeons refused to fly during past administrations.
— Mazi Ibe (@MaziIbe_) January 15, 2021
I guarantee you… If it was possible, the DSS would arrest the pigeons for such an affront on the President.
But really, is there peace, harmony and security in the land?
And totally unrelated, Channels TV is fake news.
— Morris Monye💙 (@Morris_Monye) January 15, 2021
*Fly if you believe there’s peace in the country*
The pigeons: https://t.co/oXOYmzFAWJ
— Duke of Ibadan 🀄️ (@AsiwajuLerry) January 15, 2021
There’s no peace in Nigeria. There’s no progress being made. And there’s no harmony among us. So the pigeons refused to fly
Unbothered and unhinged, Buhari didn’t hesitate to leave the birds. Like he does with Nigeria and Nigerians
You won’t find a more iconic video
— P.article! (@isiomanb) January 15, 2021
How dare the recalcitrant Pigeons?! Opposition parties must be held liable for this failure to launch in the spirit of peace. Apologies Mr President, don’t mind them. The pigeons must be investigated and their collaborators smoked out. Nonsense. 😡 https://t.co/FRUIjlEHI6
— SEGA L’éveilleur®🚨 (@segalink) January 15, 2021
Man. This life is a whole movie! 😂😂😂
MC: These pigeons fly high symbolizing harmony and peace
Pigeons: Y’all didn’t feed us enough for this lie 😤 https://t.co/rgN9M38qCn
— Chuba Ezekwesili (@ChubaEzeks) January 15, 2021
Thank you Pigeons ooooo.
We didn’t know you could communicate our collective feelings to those in Authority the way you just did. pic.twitter.com/x5w8ColDev
— Thεό Abu (@TheoAbuAgada) January 15, 2021
Pigeon leader : I saw a letter in my pigeon hole that nobody should fly abeg, he’s going to order them to shoot us too.
— ÀGBÀ! (@Oli_Ekun) January 15, 2021
Nothing moves in this country, not economy, not even pigeons pic.twitter.com/u4b8cNwCiz
— Oyindamola🙄 (@dammiedammie35) January 15, 2021