President Muhammadu Buhari has called the death of Chief of Army Staff, Lieut-Gen Ibrahim Attahiru a “mortal blow to our underbelly”.
Attahiru, alongside 10 others—including his principal officers, personal aides and the crew—died in a plane crash enroute Kaduna for a function.
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He was billed to be Reviewing Officer at the 80th Passing out Parade of the Depot Nigerian Army, Zaria.
“The COAS was to arrive in Kaduna on Friday and sleep over at his guest house. He was then expected to pay homage to the Emir of Zazzau, Ambassador Ahmed Nuhu Bamali on Saturday before proceeding to the depot for the PoP,” a source said.
The parade has been put on hold till further notice.
The military Beachcraft 350 carrying him and other passengers went down at the Kaduna International Airport at 6pm, sources have said.
The president’s spokesman Femi Adesina issued a statement saying the president was shocked and saddened by the crash.
He called it a “mortal blow to our underbelly at a time our armed forces are poised to end the security challenges facing the country.”
Attahiru was among four service chiefs Buhari appointed in January amidst controversial calls for the removal of former service chiefs.
The appointment was to shore up the campaign against insecurity.
Editor’s Note: This report has been edited to reflect the nature of the event the chief of army staff was to attend in Kaduna.