Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 May 2021:
Report from Abuja this evening, says that a Nigerian Air Force Beechcraft 350 plane with registration NGR203 carrying the country’s chief of defence staff – Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru from Abuja to Kaduna military airport was diverted to Kaduna civil airport due to bad weather but touchdown and skidded off the runway and burst into flames.
All eight military personnel on board – including Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru and four crew died in the crash which took place at about 6pm GMT today.
Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, Nigerian Air Force Director of Information said in a statement: “An air crash involving a @NigAirForce aircraft occurred this evening near the Kaduna International Airport. The immediate cause of the crash is still being ascertained. More details to follow soon”.
The Commissioner of Accident Investigation Bureau, Akin Olateru, confirmed eight people died. “Beachcraft 350. 8 souls on board. Unfortunately, all dead,” Olateru said.
Photo: Lt General Attahiru was among the Service Chiefs appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in January 2021.
Ibrahim Attahiru was born on 10 August 1966 in Doka, Kaduna North Local Government Area, Kaduna State. He was the 25th Chief of Army Staff and a graduate of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji and Nigerian Army School of Infantry.
He commenced cadets training in January 1984 and was commissioned into the rank of Second Lieutenant in December 1986 as an Infantry Officer.
He held a Masters degree in Strategic Management and Policy Studies from the Nigerian Defence Academy; Masters of Science in Human Resources Management and Development from Salford University in the United Kingdom; and Graduate Diploma in International Studies from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Lt General Attahiru has held several appointments on the staff, instructional and in command during his military career. He had a tour of duty with the United Nations in Sierra Leone as a Military Observer, where he facilitated United Kingdom military engagement, Operation BARASS in September 2000.
He was an Operation Officer and later Company Commander in NIBATT 19 ECOMOG Operations in Liberia. Also, he had the unique privilege of having commanded with distinction all through the chain of command in the Nigerian Army.
Prominent among these appointments are Commanding Officer 146 Battalion Nigerian Army (Operation HARMONY IV) in the Bakassi Peninsula, Commander 13 Brigade Nigerian Army (Operation PULO SHIELD), General Officer Commanding 82 Division Nigerian Army.
He was one time Theatre Commander Operation LAFIYA DOLE (the Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency Outfit in North Eastern Nigeria). It is on record that he brought relative stability to the region with the surrender of several Boko Haram combatants.
As a staff officer, he was unit Adjutant, 7 Battalion Nigerian Army, Serti, Chief of Staff, 1 Brigade Nigerian Army Sokoto, General Staff Officer Grade 1 Training/Operations as well as Staff Duties/Plans at Headquarters 1, 2 and 81 Divisions of the Nigerian Army.
He was Deputy Director Military Secretary 2 at the AHQ MS (A) and one-time Director Army Public Relations and Spokesperson of the Nigerian Army.
He was later Director staff duties and Deputy Chief of Policy and Plans at the Army Headquarters. He was equally privileged to serve as Chief of Defence Transformation and Innovation and Chief of Defence Logistics at the apex organ of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Defence Headquarters Abuja.
In that position, he worked with the US Defence Logistics Agency on the Vertically Integrated Logistics Approach (VILA) Programme towards enhancing the operational readiness in the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
On the instructional, he was an Instructor at the Depot Nigerian Army, Nigerian Defence Academy and the Nigerian Army School of Infantry. He was later a Directing Staff and Chief Instructor at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji – Kaduna.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph wish to extend its condolences to the government and people of Nigeria. May Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru’s soul rest in perfect peace, and may his family find comfort.
To the family and the the nation of Nigeria, May the soul of General Ibrahim Attahiru rest in peace. A great loss for Nigeria, and the wider West African region.
Such a tragedy should be an eye-opener for all of us that tomorrows are not given because of medals, accolades of recognition, social status or level of educational achievements. Go right ahead, build your lives with firm and tenacious diligence, toil tirelessly like worker bees from dawn to dusk, drench yourself in tears and the labors of sweat and it could all be a waste, all in vain; all an unnecessary strain interwoven with utter regret and pain because Generous omnipotent Heaven just might decide for a strange reason only best known to herself, to abruptly withdraw her beneficence and decide not to grant thee another day to breathe and live amongst the living who also are already dead.
Another day under the hot sun to cuddle and kiss your children and your loving wives. Such are the ways of Existence. The cup we are all given to drink may be bitter or sweet, she alone knows. Sour or tasteless with woes or full to the brim with blessings, only Heaven knows. Someone once protested to the throne of Grace. “Think ye not that granting a long life to all mankind, without calamities and abrupt deaths, without worries and struggles would have been a priceless gift to humanity here on Earth?”
The voice of Heaven replies; “The few moments I gave to thee were not earned, yet I gave them to thee so that you become alive, breathe and see the magnificent work of my hands. I gave to thee what millions of souls are still thirsting and waiting for; Be it a single day or a whole century – I gave to thee. It was for my own glory I bestowed the blessing and gift of life and not for yours.”
Stargazer wishing the people of Nigeria and the family and friends of General Ibrahim Attahiru my heartfelt condolences – May Almighty God grant him mercy when he kneels before his tremendous Throne. Rest in perfect Peace.