Attahiru, Others’ Death Not In Vain – Buhari

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  • Gbajabiamila, govs, APC, others mourn late officers

BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness over the air crash that claimed the lives of Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru, and other military personnel in Kaduna on Friday night.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, the President described the victims of the crash as “heroes who paid the ultimate price for peace and security in the land.”

Noting that he was deeply saddened by the death of the plane crash victims, President Buhari consoled the bereaved families, the military and Nigerians in general for the irreparable loss.

The statement said; “While praying that God receives the souls of the patriots, the President says the crash ‘is one mortal blow to our underbelly at a time our armed forces are poised to end the security challenges facing the country.

“The President pledged that the departed would not die in vain.”

Gbajabiamila Extols Late COAS Similarly, the House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, has described as unfortunate the death of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, and 10 others in the Kaduna plane crash.

He said the COAS’ death, which came at a time that the Nigerian military was finding solutions to the security challenges in the country, was shocking and sad, adding that Attahiru had shown lots of commitment in tackling the security situation in the country having just taken over from the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, few months back.

A statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, recalled that the late Army Chief came across as a core professional officer during the few meetings the House held with him in search of solutions to the security challenges.

The Speaker noted that the Nigerian military, especially the Nigeria Army, has lost a dedicated and committed senior officer whose services to fatherland will be sorely missed.

Northern Governors Forum In Shock

Also expressing shock by the news of Attahiru and others’ death, the Northern Governors’ Forum said; “Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru was a committed soldier whose passion for defending Nigeria was very clear throughout his military career even before his appointment as the Chief of Army Staff.”

Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong, said; “Since his appointment, we have engaged him as Northern Governors Forum and individually as governors towards enhancing the security and safety of our states, region and the nation at large.

“Within the few months he held sway, we have seen improvements and high resolve to bring an end to insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities. We had been working on consolidating this before this tragic incident that took his life and that of others working with him.”

Noting that the Forum is “highly shocked and pained”, Governor Lalong prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest and comfort their families.

We’re In Deep Shock – APC

For the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the plane crash and loss of lives are deeply shocking to the party and Nigerians.

National Secretary Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, said: “While the air crash is being investigated and reports on its cause sketchy, the APC commiserates with President Muhamadu Buhari, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Nigerian military and the families of the deceased for the tragic loss of the officers who have gallantly served the nation with honour and dignity.”

Govs Speak Glowingly Of Army Chief In his condolence message, Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State commiserated with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky E.O Irabor and the entire country on the death of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru and other persons on board the ill-fated aircraft.

Oyetola said; “My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased. May God grant their souls eternal rest.”

On his part, Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki said Attahiru served Nigeria meritoriously, “bringing his skill, experience and expertise to bear in prosecuting the war against terror.

“He will always be remembered for his gallantry, commitment to service and dedication to our fatherland.”

Also, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State and Chairman North Central States Governors’ Forum says the death of Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Ibrahim Attahiru and other top Military Officers in the plane crash is such a devastating news to the nation at its trying moment of insecurity.

Governor Bello said the death of COAS and others was coming at a time when the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff along with other Service Chiefs have developed renewed efforts in tackling insecurity in the country.

According to him, the late Chief of Army Staff has, within his short time in the office, demonstrated and showed remarkable commitment and professionalism in the course of discharging his duty.

Saying he received the news with deep shock, Governor Bello called on the family, the Nigerian Army, friends and associates to accept the death as the will of Allah and bear the irreparable loss.

The governor enjoined all to pray for the repose of his soul and other officers, and for Allah to give their families the strength to accept their divine call as all souls shall taste death.

General Attahiru is the second COAS to die in an air mishap. The first was Lt. Colonel Joseph Akahan, who served between May 1967 and May 1968. Akahan, who hailed from Gboko in the present Benue State, died in a helicopter crash midway into the Nigerian Civil War.

Also, yesterday’s crash is the third recorded by NAF aircraft within the last three months. In all, the three accidents have claimed a total of 20 lives.

The first incident took place on February 21, 2021 when a Beechcraft King Air B350i aircraft jet crashed in Abuja, killing all the seven Air Force personnel on board. The plane was on its way to Minna, Niger State, in connection with the planned rescue of some students abducted by gunmen.

The second accident happened on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. It involved an Alpha-Jet aircraft deployed for the anti-terror war against Boko Haram in the Northeast. It had two men on board.

Meanwhile, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) release indicates that those on the military Beachcraft 350 aircraft that crashed at the Kaduna International Airport were
1. LT GEN I ATTAHIRU
2. BRIG GEN MI ABDULKADIR
3. BRIG GEN OLAYINKA
4. BRIG GEN KULIYA
5. MAJ LA HAYAT
6. MAJ HAMZA
7. SGT UMAR
CREW
8. FLT LT TO ASANIYI
9. FLT LT AA OLUFADE
10. SGT ADESINA
11. ACM OYEDEPO

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