Chief of Defence Staff to military: it’s time to get over shock of plane crash




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Officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces have been urged to maintain the high spirit and not allow the death of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 military personnel to affect the morale.

Chief of Defence Staff General Lucky Irabor, who spoke yesterday, said even though the passage of Attahiru and others was painful, officers and men must focus on their constitutional roles.


also spoke again on the death of the officers, lamenting that it had set back his administration’s war against insecurity.

The COAS, three majors-General and seven military men lost their lives when an Air jet flying them to Kaduna crashed Friday evening. They were buried Saturday at the Military Cemetery in Abuja.

Others, who spoke on the crash were the Nigeria Governors’ Forum Chairman, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz; the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen Danjuma

Ali-Keffi; Osun State Government; Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, George Akume and father of one of the deceased, Rufus Asaniyi.

At the three-day Moslem funeral prayer held at the late Attahiru’s home, CDS Irabor said: “My message to members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria is that they should remain steadfast and committed to their constitutional roles in this trying period.

“Their spirit should not be dampened by the unfortunate incident,” he said.

The Islamic Affairs, Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Shehu Mustapha led the prayer. He sought God’s intervention to end insecurity in the country. Asking God to grant Nigerian leaders the wisdom and strength to pilot the affairs of the nation, Mustapha prayed for the repose of the souls of the late officers. He also pleaded with God to grant the families of the deceased the fortitude to bear their losses.

A former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazzau; Chairman National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Buba Marwa, Chief of Air Staff Oladayo Amao, Chairman Senate Committee on Army Ali Ndume and former Adamawa Murtala Nyako attended the prayer.

: Death of Attahiru, others a setback
Speaking when Governor Fayemi led an NGF to pay him a condolence visit, President described the death of the officers and men as a setback to the nation’s current fight against insecurity.

Fayemi was accompanied by the Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) National Caretaker Committee and Yobe , Mai Mala Buni, and Governor Sani Bello of Niger State.

The President told them that only God knew why the accident happened.

Buhari said: “This is a situation that only God knows when it will happen and it happened at a time when the security situation in the country is a fundamental issue.

“And to lose choice officers has increased problem but we know what we are in for and we will continue to work hard and pray hard so that God will give us the power to appreciate and apply ourselves to the problem.

“The people, who elected us, know the we made within the time…the circumstances which we find ourselves…we will keep on trying and continue to do best.”


While affirming that the death of the officers was a big blow, Fayemi said the incident should not slow down the crusade against insecurity down.

His words: “We’ve read your statement and this delegation of governors consider it a duty and as part of obligation as your representatives to commiserate with you over the loss of your gallant officers.

“We know it is an event that has touched you. When we mentioned the necessity for a change of service chiefs, you were determined to get the best set of people, you gave your assurance and the military was beginning to feel the impact.

“We know that this is a major blow and you’re unrelenting in your quest/commitment to ensure peace and security in our country.

“It’s unfortunate the losses we have suffered. We only pray God gives both the families and the country the fortitude to bear the loss, pray that God gives our country greater resolve to continue on the path that the late COAS toed.

“For us, we must defeat banditry, insurgency and criminality. That’s the mandate you gave them. This should not lead to any retreat or surrender on our part.

“As you have promised, we know that our country will do everything to ensure that the administration will do all to take care of the families of the departed officers. It’s an indication of how protected the active officers would be.”

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu, in a statement, said the Saudi King also commiserated with Buhari over the death of the officers.

He added that the monarch of the -rich Asian country expressed full solidarity with Nigeria following the national tragedy.

According to the presidential aide, the two leaders also exchanged pleasantries on the occasion of Eid which was marked after the 30-day Ramadan fast.

They prayed for peace, security and in the two nations and the sub-regions. The Saudi King also prayed for the repose of the souls of the military men.

Buhari expressed happiness with the King and thanked him for standing with Nigeria in all situations.

It’s a great loss to Nigeria, GOC 1 Division
The (GOC), 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen Ali-Keffi described the death of Attahiru and the 10 others as a great loss to Nigeria.

Ali-Keffi made this known during post-funeral prayer, known as Fidau, held in the family house of the late Attahiru in Doka Area of Kaduna Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

He said: “What has happened has happened. Nobody can question the will of Allah.

”May the Almighty Allah forgive all those that were involved in the plane crash and comfort their families.” Also, Alhaji Bala Tijjani, the Bunun Zazzau and District Head of Kaduna Local Government, also said Attahiru and others’ death was a great loss to Nigeria.

Tijjani added:

“I was shocked when I learnt about the death of the Army Chief. We grew up together. He was my childhood friend and he has been a very good person throughout these years.

“He was a very generous man who does his good deeds in discrete without attracting attention, we know him as a and a very good soldier.”

Osun mourns two indigenes
The Osun State government yesterday mourned two officers—Opeyemi Adesina and ACM Oyedepo— who were indigenes of the state. Information and Civic Orientation Commissioner Mrs Funke Egbemonde said in a statement that the death of Adesina and Oyedepo was painful to the state and the nation at large.

Egbemode added: “These two sons of Osun had been part of the fight to secure our nation and will be missed. They were brave men and we, just like their families would have loved them to live to ripe old ages but we are consoled that they dedicated their lives to a worthy cause.

“We pray that God grant them eternal rest, comfort the families the deceased left behind and provide them with the fortitude to bear the loss of the departed.

“The government also commiserates with the leadership of Idoo and Ora Igbomina Communities respectively.”

Akume condoles with Buhari, Attahiru’s family, others
Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs Akume also condoled with President

Buhari and families of the deceased officers.

Akume described the late Attahiru as a disciplined, diligent, dedicated and thorough military officer who, within the short period he served, had gained so much grounds in the fight against insurgency, kidnappings and banditry in Nigeria.

“Though the loss of the COAS is quite unfortunate, we appreciate God Almighty for his that was very impactful and well spent,” he said.

He, however, advised military officers to sustain the tempo in the fight against insurgency and banditry which he described as a must-win battle.

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