I am still in a state of shock after I read a post from a friend that Nigeria has lost its 21st Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, to a plane crash at the Kaduna International Airport alongside other officers who were on official assignment to the city.
Prior to the flight to Kaduna the late COAS was at the National Mosque to perform the Juma’at in mufti as it were ahead of the fatal trip.
When I saw the wreckage of the airplane burning, it struck me this was not ordinary crash. A major fault could have developed as the aircraft was approaching the airport terminal.
The fatal accident is occurring a few day after the media was awash with the news that Abubakar Shekau, the notorious Commander of Boko Haram insurgents, had been killed during an encounter between his group and ISWAP.
The Defence Headquarters also put out a statement that it had begun its investigation into the purported killing of Shekau who had on many occasions come out in a video to deny his death.
Since the latest announcement of Shekau’ s death no reaction so far from the group either confirming or denying the killing of their Commander.
But there was a celebration of this killing in several quarters and I remember telling a friend that it was the collective prayers of Nigerians that God hearkened to during the last Ramadan Fast especially by taking the soul of Shekau at His appointed time.
The euphoria of that important incident has suddenly turned into ashes in our mouths due to the death of Gen. Attahiru.
It is with a heavy very heart that I condole with his wife,Hajiya Fatima Attahiru, who was earlier mentioned to have been involved in the crash and his family, the Nigerian Army and indeed the President and Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari who deemed the deceased fit and worthy to be appointed to the position of COAS in January,2021.
Aircrashes involving military planes are getting too many in recent times.
It is only a thorough investigation into this latest incident and others that will reveal the causes of these crashes and appropriate recommendations given in order to forestall similar crashes in the nearest future.
Nigeria is losing its fine military personnel to aircrashes more frequently now than before.
Shittu Obassa Writes from Abuja
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