Members of the House of Representatives have expressed sadness over the death of Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru and his entourage in an air crash in Kaduna.
Attahiru, along with six senior officers and four crew members were onboard Nigerian Air Force Kingair 350 from Abuja to Kaduna, ahead of today’s passing out parade of soldiers from the Nigerian Army Depot in Zaria, when the crash happened amid torrential rainfall, on Friday evening.
The Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, in a statement issued on Saturday described as shocking and sad the death Attahiru and others involved in the plane crash.
Gbajabiamila said the death of the Army Chief was unfortunate coming at a time that the Nigerian military was finding solutions to the security challenges in the country.
He said having taken over from the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, a couple of months ago, Attahiru had shown a lot of commitment in tackling the security situation in the country.
He said the Nigerian military, especially the Nigeria Army, has lost a dedicated and committed senior officer whose services to fatherland will be sorely missed.
The Speaker sent his condolences to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian military, and the Attahiru family over the loss.
The Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Wase on his part said he is pained by the tragic loss of the gallant officers who have served the nation with honour and dignity.
Wase commiserated with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian Military and the families of the deceased, and prayed to Almighty Allah to grant the departed souls eternal rest.
Also the Minority Caucus of the House in a statement issued by its leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, said the lawmakers were grief-stricken by this huge tragedy, demanding a full scale investigation into the unfortunate incident .
The Caucus, described Gen. Attahiru and the other officers as courageous and patriotic soldiers, who gave all in the defence of our dear fatherland.
The caucus charged the military not to be weighed down by the tragic event but to remain focused and undeterred so as to ensure that the heroes did not die in vain.
On his part, the House Committee on Army while expressing deep shock to the tragic news, said Attahiru was an energetic officer, who was committed to improving the security of the country, especially prosecuting the war against insurgency.
The Committee in a statement by its Chairman, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas said in his brief stay in office as the COAS, the late Attahiru had a rolled-out plan on how to defeat Boko Haram and bring under control, other security threats, which the country faced in recent years.
The committee lamented that it was unfortunate that Attahiru did not live to see to the successful execution of his counter-terrorism strategies.
The Committee while commiserating with the Nigerian Army, his immediate family and the Federal Government, prayed to the Almighty God to grant his soul and the souls of all other passengers, eternal rest.
The Committee urges the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army and all gallant officers and men to remain focused and re-commit themselves to the task of safeguarding the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
The House Committee on Airforce also expressed sadness over the tragic death of Attahiru and other gallant officers.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Shehu Koko, in a statement said the news came to him as a shock having embarked on an official duty to Makurdi, Benue State on Thursday with the late chief of army staff.
He said, ”the news of the crash is still a shock to me as I am aware of his hard work and tour to states across the Federation in a bid to find a lasting solution to the security challenges facing the country. It is unfortunate that this is coming at a time when the country’s service chiefs are doing everything possible to win the war against insurgency in Nigeria. This is painful and shocking, as I condole with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Military, Nigerian Army and Airforce.”
Koko while praying for the families of the deceased to bear the irreparable loss, urged the Nigerian military to sustain the fight and synergy in the interest of the country.