Some security experts have expressed sadness over the death of top military personnel in a plane crash and called for a thorough review of the military aviation sector.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 other personnel, died in a military plane crash on Friday in Kaduna.
The security experts told NAN in separate interviews on Sunday that the development was a setback to the advancement of the country’s security architecture in its fight against insurgency.
The Managing Director of Strict Guard Security Limited, Mr Chinye Bones, said that there was a need for a review of the military aviation sector to prevent such an ill-fated occurrence in the future.
Bones recalled that there was a drop in air crashes in the civil aviation sector after a review was done during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime.
“It is becoming worrisome with the number of crashes being recorded in the military sector and unfortunate that a top military officer just lost his life like that in the crash that occurred on Friday.
“This shows the level of decadence in the fleet of our military aircraft to the extent that an aircraft transporting the serving COAS and his entourage could crash and go up in flames.
“Attahiru just died as a result of carelessness or sabotage by some unscrupulous people,’’ Bone alleged.
He, therefore, called for a thorough investigation to ascertain the cause of the crash involving the aircraft so that such occurrence would not repeat itself in future.
“I express my condolences to the families of the deceased and pray that God grants them the fortitude to bear their losses.’’
Also, Mr Dennis Amachree, another security expert, said that the development happened when Nigerians were looking forward to new strategies that the new service chief would introduce in the fight against insurgency.
Amachree said that Attahiru’s death was unfortunate because he had just reached the peak of his career after spending many years serving his country.
“He died in active service and this is a big blow to the Armed Forces, especially in its fight against terrorism.
“He will be greatly missed by the entire Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Armed Forces as a whole.
“My condolences go to his family,’’ he said.
Similarly, Ben Okezie, also a security expert said that government should endeavour to take care of the families left behind by the deceased military officers.
“They died while actively serving the country and the nation must honour their contributions and dedication to the development of the Nigerian Army,’’ Okezie said.
He also eulogised the late COAS, who, he said, showed leadership which was cherished by Nigerians.
“His name will go down in history as a gallant soldier who died in the service to his country.
“May his soul rest in peace and may God give his family the fortitude to bear the loss.’’
A former Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Mr Fatai Owoseni, commiserated with the family of the deceased COAS, adding that his death from the military plane crash was a sad incident.
“What else is there to say than saying this is a sad incident, a great loss to his family and Nigeria.
“I pray that Almighty God will grant his family the fortitude to bear the loss,’’ Owoseni said.
Mr Benjamin Esegine, a security expert, also described the incident as an unfortunate one.
Esegine advised that Nigeria should pay more attention to the maintenance of both military and civil aircraft.
“This is an unfortunate incident and I am deeply pained because it is an avoidable death.
“May the soul of the departed rest in peace.
“But, this goes beyond prayers but actions as we need not wait till this same calamity shifts to commercial aeroplanes.
“Aircraft maintenance is important as life has no duplicate. This is sad,’’ he said.
NAN reports that several military officers had lost their lives in the last three months in crashes involving Nigerian Air Force jets.
On Sunday, Feb. 21, a Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft en route Minna in Niger crashed close to the runway of the Abuja airport after reporting engine failure.
Also, on Wednesday, March 31, an Alpha-Jet aircraft, involved in the anti-terror war against Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province, lost radar contact in Borno.
The most recent is the fatal accident of a NAF Beachcraft 350 aircraft on Friday, May 21, which had the incumbent Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru on board.
Attahiru and 10 others on board the military aircraft died in the crash near the Kaduna International Airport. (NAN).
Other officers who died in the COAS entourage are Brig.-Gen. MI Abdulkadir, Brig.-Gen. Olayinka, Brig.-Gen. Kuliya, Maj. LA Hayat, Maj. Hamza and Sgt. Umar.
The crew were Flt.-Lt.TO Asaniyi, Flt.-Lt. AA Olufade, Sgt. Adesina and ACM Oyedepo.
NAN also recalls that a total of four Service Chiefs (three serving and a former) had died in air crashes.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Col. Joseph Akahan (May 1968); Chief of Air Staff, Lt. Shittu Alao (Oct. 15, 1969, at Uzebba, near Benin); Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Andrew Azazi (Dec. 15, 2012, in Bayelsa) and Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru (May 2021) (NAN).