By Elohor Igbru
The deceased personnel of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) who lost their lives after their plane crashed on approach at the Abuja airport on Sunday will be difficult to replace, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Vice Marshall (AVM) Oladayo Amao has said.
The CAS made the comment when Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, along with some officials of the ministry paid him a condolence visit at the NAF headquarters in Abuja on Monday.
Amao said it was a ” sad Sunday” for the NAF family as the deceased are a set of ” fine, well-trained, dedicated personnel who in the course of conducting Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, had operated in virtually all theatres, including the North East, North West as well as the North Central.”
The CAS disclosed that the deceased personnel, who had been in Minna for days conducting ISR missions in connection with the concerted efforts to secure the release of the students and staff abducted from the Government Science College Kagara, Niger State, had only stopped at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to refuel before embarking on the fateful return flight to Minna, when the unfortunate incident occurred.
While describing the incident as one of the hazards of the military profession, AVM Amao lamented that the NAF would find it difficult to replace the personnel based on their training and experience acquired over the years. He said the Service was nevertheless consoled by the fact that the deceased personnel gave their utmost in service to the Nation.
Dame Tallen who described the incident as a great loss to the Nation said her ministry shares with the NAF family ” in this dark moment of grief.”
She highlighted that she was at HQ NAF on behalf of Nigerian women and children, prayed that the good Lord would console the Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, the CAS, the entire NAF Family as well as members of the immediately families of the deceased gallant officers and airmen.
The Minister later presented a condolence letter to the CAS.