Just about four months after being named as Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru, died Friday evening in an air crash at the Kaduna International Airport.
The COAS, who was heading for Kaduna on official duty, reportedly perished with no fewer than seven top aides, who were travelling on the same 350 Beechcraft Aircraft.
The loud screams coupled with the explosion resulting from the aircraft before it finally crashed, reportedly threw the inhabitants of the airport community into chaos, fear and confusion.
Some of the locals, who witnessed the crash, said that the troubled aircraft exploded and got burnt completely by the time it hit the ground. “All the crew members and passengers numbering 12 died in the crash,” a source at the airport told journalists in Kaduna. ‘The crew apparently lost control of the aircraft due to sudden change of weather accompanied with violent storm and lightning,” the source explained.
The Nigerian Airforce confirmed the crash but was silent on casualties. They however announced that an investigation into the crash would be carried out. “An air crash involving a Nigeria Airforce aircraft occurred this evening near the Kaduna International Airport,” Nigerian Airforce Public Relations Officer, Air Vice Marshall Edward Gabkwet, said in a statement. Lt. Gen Ibrahim Attahiru was appointed Chief of Army Staff along with other Service Chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 26, 2021.
Born on 10 August 1966 in Doka, Kaduna North Local Government Area, Kaduna State, Attahiru graduated from the Nigerian Defence Academy and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in December 1986 as an Infantry Officer.
The late COAS held a Master’s degree in Strategic Management and Policy Studies from the Nigerian Defence Academy. General Attahiru had held several key appointments during his military career and had undertaken many strategic duties within and outside Nigeria. Ibrahim Attahiru: 30th Army Chief; Second Shortest Stint Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, was the 30th Chief of Army Staff of Nigeria.
He was also the 26th indigenous Chief of Army Staff and was in office for three months and 26 days. It was the second shortest stint as army chief after the three months stewardship of Lt. Gen. Aliyu Gusau between September and November 1993.
The shortest stint before him in the democratic era was Gen. Andrew Azazi who served for 11 months before he was promoted to the post of Chief of Defence Staff. Gen. Attahiru was appointed army chief on January 26, 2021 when President Muhammadu Buhari made a sweeping change of the service chiefs. Born on 10th August 1966 in Doka, Kaduna North Local Government Area, Kaduna State, he graduated from the Nigerian Defence Academy. He commenced cadets training in January 1984 and was commissioned into the rank of Second Lieutenant in December 1986 as an Infantry Officer.
He had a Masters degree in Strategic Management and Policy Studies from the Nigerian Defence Academy. General Attahiru 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 were 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. Buhari expresses shock over Gen. Attahiru death—Also mourns others President Muhammadu Buhari Friday night expressed sadness over the air crash that claimed the lives of Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, and other military officers.
The President in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina condoled with families of the deceased, the military, and Nigerians in general, describing them as “heroes who paid the ultimate price for peace and security in the land.” While praying that God receives the souls of the patriots, the President said the crash “is one mortal blow to our underbelly, at a time our armed forces are poised to end the security challenges facing the country.” President Buhari pledged that the departed would not die in vain. In his own reaction, Mr. Peter Obi who described the crash as painful to the nation, commiserated with the Nigerian Army, the Air force and Mr. President and prayed for the peaceful repose of the souls of the dead.