The immediate past Chief of Army Staff and Ambassador Designate, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (Rtd), has expressed deep sadness over the death of the of General Ibrahim Attahiru. Attahiru, the newly-appointed Chief of Army Staff, and 11 other military officers had died in a plane crash at the Kaduna International Airport on Friday.
Buratai, in a statement made available to AMILOADED on Sunday, described the clash that claimed the lives of the military personnel as tragic to all Nigerians and peace-loving people.
He added that Attahiru and the officers that died with him were top-level officers whose records of service were meritorious.
Buratai said, “I was deeply shocked and saddened by the news of the passing away of my immediate successor, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), the Acting Chief of Military Intelligence, Acting Provost Marshal (Army), his Chief of Staff, the Aide-de-Camp and the Acting Deputy Director Finance in the office of the COAS, his Orderly, as well as the pilots and crew in an air crash on 21 May 2021 at Kaduna Airport.
“I would like to, on behalf of my family, reiterate my deepest sympathy and condolences to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Federal Republic of Nigeria, the families of the deceased, the Honourable Minister of Defence, the Chief of Defence, the Chief of Air Staff, gallant officers, soldiers and airmen of the Armed Forces of Nigeria over the passing away of these courageous, loyal and patriotic Nigerians in line of duty.
“I am deeply saddened by this incident that can best be described as tragic to all Nigerians and peace-loving people because Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru and those officers that died along with him were top-level officers whose records of service were meritorious.”
The former COAS added, “This unfortunate incident deeply saddens me as it robbed us of the services of the Chief of Army Staff who, since he took over from me, had left no one in doubt as regards his determination to succeed in the various military operations across the country.
“He was at the verge of making the nation proud in the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism efforts when this tragedy occurred. I do not doubt his ability as he had served under me in various capacities and was well grounded for the job with active support and collaboration of his colleagues.
“While condoling the Armed Forces of Nigeria, I urge them to close ranks and make sure that their legacy lives on by consolidating on the gains made in the various operations. They gave their lives in the line of duty and patriotic service to the nation.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of these great heroes. May the Almighty Allah grant them eternal rest.”