Despite mourning crew of its aircraft that crashed on Friday in Kaduna, the Nigerian Airforce is not losing sight of its mandate to restore peace in the country.
On Sunday, the Kaduna State Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, issued a statement where he quoted Governor Nasir El-Rufai as commending NAF fighter jet crew for their swift response in rescuing hostages from the mass kidnap attempt in Igabi local government area of the state.
Without doubt, NAF is mourning. This year has particularly being sad for the service.
On Sunday, February 21, 2021, seven Nigerian Air Force (NAF) officers died onboard a Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft when the jet crashed in Abuja.
The jet, en route Minna, Niger State, crashed close to the runway of the Abuja airport after reporting engine failure.
Also, on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said an Alpha-Jet aircraft involved in the anti-terror war against Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province lost radar contact in Borno State.
Two officers were onboard the missing jet which was later declared crashed and the whereabouts of the two airmen unknown till date.
So now, and this time around, it happened in Kaduna State, only last Friday. The fresh in the series of fatal accidents of NAF jets involved the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru.
Reacting to the development, President Muhammadu Buhari, said that ‘the departed would not die in vain.’
The President, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, condoled with the 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.’
He 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.’
Meanwhile, as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, has directed that an Accident Investigation Board (AIB) be constituted to unravel the remote and immediate causes of the Military aircraft crash, it is worth noting that the military continue to pay a huge sacrifice for the sake of our country.
The untimely, and tragic deaths of young and brilliant flight officers of NAF while serving their fatherland ultimately abort the dreams and aspirations of the deceased officers and affects NAF’s core missions and visions.
In another instance, it automatically makes the spouses of the NAF pilots and crew killed to be naturally conscripted into the widowhood league, most times, prematurely, while children and other family members are left in great pains.
NAF pilot, Flt. Leut. T.O Asaniyi, who died in the Kaduna crash on Friday, for instance, was planning his wedding.
He had his wedding introduction two months ago, according to his friend who was to serve as his best man at his wedding.
Miss Bunmi Oladuntoye, the fiancee, in a special tribute on twitter, revealed that Asaniyi proposed marriage to her last August, poured out her heart lamenting she would never again receive the tender love and care that had been her portion since their engagement
She said: “Femi I have no regrets walking this journey with you. You asked me to be your wife last year in August and I gave you a resounding yes. One of the last things to said to me was to keep on being humble and continue to give. You were a giver, oh you were such a giver.
“Femi mi, Olowo ori mi, who will hype me now when I make a new hair, who will call me fine girl, who will call me the most beautiful woman in the world. I have cried and cried and cried. People have spoken to me, James and Kamal have told me you wouldn’t want me to be sad and I know that for sure because whenever I am sad and I cry, you will be like “what’s the meaning of this now” . The world deserves to know how great you are.
“To Nigerians and the world at large, my fiancé FLIGHT LIEUTENANT TO ASANIYI was a great man who dedicated his life to serving this country.
“Pls pray for him , pray for his family and pray for me. Adigun miiiiii, Femi miiiiii, Hot choco miiii sun re o!!!!.
“I want your blue diary so bad because you had lots of intelligent things written in there. You treated me already like we were married.
“You treated me already like we were married. You would always say “babe don’t worry, everything will be fine, don’t worry”
“Hot choco miii, jo ma fimisile OLUFEMI TAIWO ASANIYI I love you now and forever.
Likewise, friends, family members and associates of NAF pilot, Flt. Lt. Alfred Ayodeji Olufade, are inconsolable at the moment after the young officer, who recently got married, died when the Beachcraft 350 aircraft crashed at the Kaduna Airport.
The Federal Government should do well to be immortalizing NAF flying and other military officers, who die in active service during air combat operations. It should provide every necessary and needed support to bereaved families of the departed military men. This will give them a sense of belonging and show that their breadwinners did not die in vain.
Nigerians in general, and on their part, should as well continue to lend their invaluable support and cooperation to NAF and the military, in extension. They must provide discreet information to the military and other security agencies about bandits, insurgents and other criminals in their neighbourhood.
It is a way of acknowledging the sterling efforts and contributions of the men of NAF and our Armed Forces in general, towards ridding the country of terrorism, banditry and all other forms of criminalities.
Matthew Okeleke is Coordinator, Military Support Coalition