The immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has said that his successor, Ibrahim Attahiru, “was on the verge of making the nation proud before his tragic death”.
Buratai, in a tribute to the late Chief of Army Staff, said Attahiru was making progress in the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism efforts when his life was cut short.
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Buratai, who described the incident as tragic to all Nigerians and peace-loving people, said late Attahiru and the officers who died in the plane crash on Friday had a track record of meritorious service.
While he said the unfortunate incident deeply saddened him, he said the tragic plane crash robbed Nigeria of gallant officers who were determined to make the country proud.
He said: “He was on the verge of making the nation proud in the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism efforts when this tragedy occurred.
“I do not doubt his ability as he had served under me in various capacities and was well-grounded for the job with active support and collaboration of his colleagues.
“I was deeply shocked and saddened by the news of the passing away of my immediate successor, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru; the Acting Chief of Military Intelligence, Acting Provost Marshal (Army), his Chief of Staff, the Aide-de-Camp and the Acting Deputy Director Finance in the office of the COAS, his Orderly, as well as the pilots and crew in an air crash on May 21 at Kaduna Airport.
“I would like to, on behalf of my family, reiterate my deepest sympathy and condolences to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Federal Republic of Nigeria, the families of the deceased, the Honourable Minister of Defence, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Air Staff, gallant officers, soldiers and airmen of the Armed Forces of Nigeria over the passing away of these courageous, loyal and patriotic Nigerians in line of duty.”
He urged the armed forces to not relent and to consolidate on the gains made in the various military operations.