The Christian Association of Nigeria, on Sunday, mourned the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Ibrahim Attahiru; and 10 other military personnel, who died when a Nigerian Air Force Beachcraft 350 jet crashed near the Kaduna International Airport on Friday.
The Christian body also expressed concerns at the spate of military plane crashes in the country, while urging the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to treat the matter as a national emergency to stop bright minds in the military from dying avoidable deaths.
The PUNCH observed that at least 20 military officers have lost their lives in the last three months in three crashes involving NAF jets, the latest being the Kaduna crash.
The Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria has since recovered the black box of the Beachcraft 350 jet that crashed on Friday and said its investigators will download and analyse vital information contained in the recorders to ascertain the cause of the crash.
CAN, in a statement on Sunday signed by its National Secretary, Daramola Joseph, stressed that the government must ascertain that all planes are fit for flights before they take off the skies.
The statement was titled, ‘CAN Commiserates With President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerian Military And The Families Of Those Who Died In The Most Recent Military Plane Crash’.
It partly read, “While our hearts are filled with sorrow for the supreme price they paid, we acknowledge with sense of gratitude to them, their selfless services to all of us in the nation.
“They laid down their lives in order to keep our nation safe and secure from the aggression of terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements in our nation.
“We pray for Your Excellency and all the families affected by their painful exit, fortitude and comfort of the Holy Spirit to bear the loss. We pray that this type of national tragedy will never occur again.”
The statement added, “It is high time thorough investigations are carried out with a view to ascertaining the immediate and remote causes of these recurrent disasters and address the causes decisively and squarely.
“We cannot continue to lose our finest military and security officers to air disasters without treating the situation as a national emergency.
“CAN is genuinely concerned and suggests that while the nation still awaits the report of the cause or causes of this latest crash, adequate measures should be taken so as to avert this kind of tragedy both in our military and civil aviation in the future.
“We must ascertain that all military aircrafts are fit to fly and that the training of the flight officers is excellent.
“We further plead that adequate care should be taken of the dependants of the deceased so that they might be proud eternally of the nation the deceased served.”