The defence headquarters on Friday said the air crash which caused the death of Ibrahim Attahiru, chief of army staff, and 10 other military officers near Kaduna international airport was caused by bad weather.
According to a statement by Onyema Nwachukwu, defence spokesman, the incident is being investigated.
“It is with a heavy heart that the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) regrets to announce that this evening at about 1800 Hours, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru in company of his entourage, who were on official trip from Abuja to Kaduna, were involved in an air mishap,” the statement reads.
“The unfortunate incident occurred after landing at the Kaduna International Airport due to inclement weather.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Lucky Irabor has therefore directed that an Accident Investigation Board be constituted to unravel the immediate and remote cause(s) of the unfortunate accident.
“As we pray for the repose of the souls of our gallant and committed Chief of Army Staff and other personnel on board with him, the AFN solicits the support and understanding of all Nigerians in the face of this tragic incident.
“We wish to state that the Armed Forces of Nigeria remains resolute in combatting the security challenges bedeviling our nation. The sacrifices of our dearly departed heroes will not be in vain.”
According to the statement, Babagana Monguno, chief of defence staff, “urges all military personnel and their families to take heart and be condoled on this tragic loss”.
“The CDS also reassures all Nigerians of the commitment and loyalty of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to the Constitution and Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as it continues to carry out its responsibilities,” the spokesman added.
Earlier on Friday, the Nigerian Army confirmed 11 officers died in the military aircraft crash that occurred in Kaduna on Friday.
The crash, which involved Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft, occurred on Friday evening near the Kaduna international airport.
According to a statement by Mohammed Yerima, army spokesman, the army chief was on board the aircraft with 10 other officers.
“The Nigerian Army regrets to announce the passing away of its Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru. The sad event occurred following an air crash in Kaduna which also claimed the lives of 10 other officers including the crew,” the statement reads.
“The COAS was en route Kaduna from Abuja on Friday, 21 May, 2021 when the unfortunate incident happened.
“Details of the sad incident and burial arrangements will be communicated soon.”