The immediate past Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd) says his successor, Lt. Gen Ibrahim Attahiru was on the brink of making the nation proud in it’s counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations.
Buratai, an Ambassador-Designate, made this known in reaction to the death of the COAS and 10 others in a plane crash on Friday in Kaduna.
In a touching tribute on Saturday evening, the former Army Chief who retired and handed over the mantle of leadership to Attahiru in January, said he is deeply shocked and saddened by his death and that of other military officers.
Buratai said the late Attahiru’s ability was never in doubt 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, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), 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 21 May 2021 at Kaduna Airport,” he said.
“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, 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.
“I am deeply saddened by this incident that can best be described as tragic to all Nigerians and peace-loving people because Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru and those officers that died along with him were top-level officers whose records of service were meritorious.
“This unfortunate incident deeply saddens me as it robbed us of the services of the Chief of Army Staff who, since he took over from me, had left no one in doubt as regards his determination to succeed in the various military operations across the country. He was at the verge of making the nation proud in the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism 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”.
While condoling the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Buratai also urged them to close ranks and make sure that their legacy lives on by consolidating on the gains made in the various operations.
He added that, “They gave their lives in the line of duty and patriotic service to the nation.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of these great heroes. May the Almighty Allah grant them eternal rest. Amin”