Remains of late Chief Of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, and 10 other personnel that died during a plane crash in Kaduna State yesterday have arrived the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja for burial.
The bodies accompanied by some wives of the deceased officers who could not hold back their tears, arrived at the Protestant church, Airforce base, Abuja, on Saturday for the final rites before they would be committed to mother earth.
The ten officers were in the entourage of the COAS who died in the ill-fated aircraft. The bodies were brought to the NAF base where the funeral service is currently underway.
The deceased officers include Brigadier General Olayinka and other crew members, FLT LT T.O Asaniyi, FLT LT AA Olufade, SGT Adesina, and ACM Oyedepo.
Meanwhile, corpses of Attahiru, and others muslim officers, who died in a Beachcraft 350 aircraft and received at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja at about 11am, were moved to the National Mosque.
Following their internment, Nigerians, including the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, have continued to pay tributes to the fallen heroes, describing as unfortunate and sad the death of Attahiru and others.
Tallen, in a statement on Saturday, said that the death of those who had paid the ultimate price in service of Nigeria at the time when the nation was grappling with so many security challenges was unfortunate.
Speaking on behalf of the Nigerian women and children, the minister commiserated with the family and country over the “national disaster”.
Tallen prayed for the repose of the souls of Attahiru and other officers who lost their lives in the crash.
Also, former Senate President, David Mark, expressed shock and sadness over the death of Attahiru and other top military officers in the ill fated plane crash.
In a condolence statement, he described the fallen officers as gallant, patriotic and heroes who were committed to the defence of territorial integrity of Nigeria as well as the restoration of peace, unity and security of the nation.
He noted that the demise of the COAS and others at this time when their services were needed to rid the nation of security challenges “is a huge set back”.
He however told the Nigerian Armed Forces not to be deterred by the incident but rather be spurred towards winning the war against insurgency.
”The only way to immortalise the departed soldiers is to do all that is needed to win the war against insurgents and restore the citizens’ hope and confidence in the armed forces,” Mark said.
In his tribute, the Chairman, Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC), Rev. Samuel Ikpea, expressed shock and sadness over the death of the officers.
“We pray for the repose of the souls of those who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident and admonish the military to continue with the patriotic efforts to secure the country.
“Lt. Gen. Attahiru served Nigeria meritoriously, bringing his skill, experience and expertise to bear in prosecuting the war against terrorism in the country.
“He will always be remembered for his gallantry, patriotism, commitment, service and dedication to our fatherland,’’ Ikpea said.
He noted that Attahiru died at the time his services were needed most by Nigerians.