By Sumaila Ogbaje
ABUJA – The Nigerian Army has confirmed death of its Chief, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 others, in an ill-fated NAF aircraft near Kaduna International Airport on Friday, saying he was a highly decorated officer.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Yerima, who did not disclose the names of the other victims, said the plane was en route Abuja-Kaduna before the crash.
“The sad event occurred following an air crash in Kaduna which also claimed the lives of 10 other officers including the crew.
“The COAS was enroute Kaduna from Abuja on May 21, when the unfortunate incident happened.
“Details of the sad incident and burial arrangements will be communicated soon,” he said.
Born on 10th August 1966 in Doka, Kaduna North Local Government Area, Kaduna State, Gen. Attahiru began his cadets training at Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in January 1984 and was commissioned into the rank of Second Lieutenant in December 1986 as an Infantry Officer.
He holds a masters degree in Strategic Management and Policy Studies from the NDA/and has held several appointments on the staff, instructional and in command during his military career.
He had a tour of duty with the United Nations in Sierra Leone as a Military Observer, where he facilitated United Kingdom military engagement, Operation BARASS in September 2000.
He was an Operation Officer and later Company Commander in NIBATT 19 ECOMOG Operations in Liberia.
Also, he had the unique privilege of having commanded with distinction all through the chain of command in the Nigerian Army.
Prominent among these appointments are Commanding Officer 146 Battalion Nigerian Army (Operation HARMONY IV) in the Bakassi Peninsula, Commander 13 Brigade Nigerian Army (Operation PULO SHIELD), General Officer Commanding 82 Division Nigerian Army.
He was at the National Defence College, Kenya for the National Defence Management and Security Studies Course and at the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Special Forces Academy Shijiazhuang-Hubei Province, China for the Basic and Advanced Special/Operations Commando Forces Courses.
He had undertaken leadership and security policy course at the prestigious Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University USA, Graduate School of Media and Communication, Agha Khan University of Nairobi, Bournemouth University Disaster Management Center and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.
The general had several honours and awards to his credit.
He is a highly decorated officer with UNAMSIL Medal, ECOMOG Medal, Forces Service Star, Meritorious Service Star, Distinguish Service Star, Grand Service Star, Corp Medal of Honour, Command medal, Field Command Medal and Field Command Medal of Honour.(NAN)