The Defence Headquarters on Friday said bad weather was responsible for the crash of a Nigerian Air Force Beachcraft 350 aircraft at the Kaduna International Airport.
The crash claimed all 11 souls onboard including newly appointed Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru.
In a statement signed by DHQ Acting Director Defence Information, Brigadier General, Onyema Nwachukwu, the DHQ said the sacrifices of departed heroes will not be in vain
The statement was titled, ‘Armed Forces Of Nigeria Loses Chief Of Army Staff And Ten Others In Air Mishap’.
It read, “It is with a heavy heart that the Armed Forces of Nigeria regrets to announce that this evening at about 1800 Hours, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru in company of his entourage, who were on official trip from Abuja to Kaduna, were involved in an air mishap.
“The unfortunate incident occurred after landing at the Kaduna International Airport due to inclement weather. The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor has therefore directed that an Accident Investigation Board be constituted to unravel the immediate and remote cause(s) of the unfortunate accident.
“As we pray for the repose of the souls of our gallant and committed Chief of Army Staff and other personnel on board with him, the AFN solicits the support and understanding of all Nigerians in the face of this tragic incident. We wish to state that the Armed Forces of Nigeria remains resolute in combatting the security challenges bedeviling our nation. The sacrifices of our dearly departed heroes will not be in vain.
“Meanwhile, the CDS urges all military personnel and their families to take heart and be condoled on this tragic loss. The CDS also reassures all Nigerians of the commitment and loyalty of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to the Constitution and Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as it continues to carry out its responsibilities.”
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had on January 26, 2021 appointed Attahiru to succeeded Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai as COAS.
At least 20 military officers have lost their lives in the last three months in three crashes involving Nigerian Air Force jets.
On Sunday, February 21, 2021, seven NAF officers died onboard a Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft when the jet crashed in Abuja.
Also, on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said an Alpha-Jet aircraft involved in the anti-terror war against Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province lost radar contact in Borno State.
Two officers were onboard the missing jet which was later declared crashed and the whereabouts of the two airmen unknown till date.