President Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday, described the late Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, as an icon of professionalism, bravery and discipline, saying that he inspired courage and confidence in the Nigerian Army, which informed the successes recorded during his watch.
President Buhari who spoke through the Minister of Defense, Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd) during the interment today in National Military Cemetery Abuja military of late chief of army staff and ten other military officers who died in a plane crash in Kaduna, on Friday, May 21, also described the late chief of army staff as one who led the army from the front.
The names of the other officers include Brigadier-General MI Abdulkadir, Brigadier-General Olayinka, Brigadier-General Kuliya, Major L. A Hayat, Major Hamza and Sergeant Umar.
Others are Flight-Lieutenant TO Asaniyi, Flight-Lieutenant AA Olufade, Sergeant Adesina and ACM Oyedepo..
Said the president: “The late Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, was an icon of professionalism, bravery and discipline, and he actually demonstrated these virtues throughout his national and international assignments which culminated to being the chief of army staff …
“He was a source of inspiration worthy of emulation by all members of the armed forces of Nigeria.
“The late chief of army staff inspired courage and confidence in the Nigerian army, which informed the successes of the army during his watch.
“Today is indeed a sad and trying period for the members of the armed forces, and our dear country.”
President Buhari also paid tribute to the other military officers who also lost their lives in the plane crash, describing them as “absolute gentlemen; respected, disciplined officers and men, who lost their lives in the service of our dear country.
“These fine gentlemen had a glorious career in the armed forces in the course of which they served the nation gallantly in various capacities,” he noted.
The president urged all Nigerians to honour them by “upholding the virtues which they proudly demonstrated during their military career.”
Speaking earlier, the Chief of Defense Staff, General. Lucky Irabor, said the death of the former chief of army staff, and other military officers, will not stop the fight against all forms of insecurity.
He described the late Attahiru as a gallant, ebullient, energetic, but calm chief of army staff, saying his death alongside other military officers is “painful, but not in vain.”
Continuing, the chief of defense staff, said: “Quite significantly, he showed his loyalty to the unity and security and well being of the nation.
“He was truly a fine officer, and a gentleman. He has left us at a time when he was most needed, a time that has now gone forever.
“I will like to assure Ibrahim as well as other gallant officers that their dreams and passions for a better Nigerian Army, and indeed the armed forces will be upheld.”.
The officers died on Friday, in a Beachcraft 350 aircraft at the Kaduna International Airport due to bad weather.
Their remains were on Saturday moved to the National Mosque and the Nigerian Air Force Protestant Church venues of prayers.
Their bodies were later moved to the National Military Cemetery for interment ceremony.
The burial ceremony started around 2.50 pm with a profile of the late COAS read.
The fallen officers were also honoured with 21-gun salute.
Dignitaries at the event include Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor; the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao; Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, among others.
The Nigerian Army had earlier on Friday announced the passing away of its Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru.
The sad event also claimed the lives of 10 other officers including the crew.
The COAS was en route Kaduna from Abuja when the unfortunate incident happened.