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NAF Crash Victims Buried Amidst Tears






(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The  remains  of Flight Lieutenant Haruna Gadzama, the brave pilot that prevented a near disaster in Abuja when a Nigerian Air Force plane, a Beechraft KingAir BB305i crashed near a residential area in Abuja, last Sunday and that of six other personnel, have been buried at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja.

Other victims were Flight Lieutenant Haruna Gadzama (Captain), Flight Lieutenant Henry Piyo (Co-Pilot), Flying Officer Micheal Okpara (Airborne Tactical Observation System (ATOS) Specialist) and Warrant Officer Bassey Etim (ATOS Specialist), Flight Sergeant Olasunkanmi Olawunmi (ATOS Specialist), Sergeant Ugochukwu Oluka (ATOS Specialist), and Aircraftman Adewale Johnson (Onboard Technician).

The bodies were lowered into the grave at exactly 1pm and accorded full Military honours and the traditional 21 gunshot salute.

It was an emotional event as colleagues of the late officers, including the Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao, wives and family members of deceased, wept uncontrollably.

The Chief of Air Staff in his address, described the deceased officers as courageous heroes in whom the Force had so much confidence.

He assured that Nigerian Air Force will throw in everything to ensure that the deceased officers did not die in vain.

According to  him ,”the  loss of these confident, courageous and professional young officers and airmen must spur the rest of us not only to rededicate ourselves to the service of our Nation, but also to resolve that we shall relentlessly expose and fight all agents of destabilisation and extremism in our society. We must throw everything that we have into this fight, to ensure that our departed colleagues did not die in vain.”

He added that, “the untimely death of these very promising gentlemen occurred on Sunday, 21 February 21 in Abuja while they were on active duty in service to our Fatherland. I must confess that, even at this moment, the Nigerian Air Force is still in palpable shock and grieving very deeply upon this loss of our gallant and courageous heroes, in whom we had so much confidence, with our expectations now suddenly and painfully cut short.



“We salute the supreme sacrifice of these young men, whose lot it became to give their lives in the defence of the peace which we all enjoy and often take for granted. These intelligent and disciplined young officers and airmen flew their quota of ongoing surveillance missions in the North East, North West and more recently in the North Central over Niger State and its environs in connection with the concerted efforts to secure the release of the staff and students abducted from the Government Science College Kagara, Niger State.”

Amao who gave in to emotions intermittently while reading the address, added further that, “as we resolve to rededicate ourselves to the cause of defending our Great Nation, let me at this juncture restate our profound commitment and unalloyed loyalty to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, as he continues to lead the Nation’s collective effort at tackling the challenges bedevilling our national security.

“In addition to honouring the sacrifice and memory of our fallen comrades, offers us all an opportunity for sober reflections as we pray for the eternal repose of the gentle souls of our departed heroes. Their death is a huge loss to the Nigerian Air Force Family and indeed the entire Nation. They will be greatly missed but fondly remembered for their invaluable services to the Nation and Humanity. Today, as our late colleagues go to their final resting place, may the Lord be with them forever and may they rest assured that the Nigerian Air Force and indeed the Nation will remain ever grateful to them for their service and sacrifice.

“To the families of our deceased brothers, our prayers are with you at this time, as also those of people from everywhere, both within and outside the country. The overwhelming show of love, solidarity and support from everyone is a clear indication that the Nation, and indeed the entire Globe, shares in this grief with you.

“This was evident in the volume of condolence messages and visits from a wide range of personalities including the President, Commander-in-Chief, leadership of the National Assembly, Governors, Ministers, members of the Diplomatic Corp as well as many other prominent Nigerians. I therefore encourage you to be consoled by the knowledge that the entire Nation grieves with you on the loss of these shining, amiable and patriotic Nigerians who have laid down their lives in the service of their Fatherland.

The Presiding priest and Director of NAF Chaplaincy, Reverend David Dogo Gani, described the death of the officers as a trying moment in the history of the country.

He prayed for the Grace to continue to look onto the Lord as the only succour in times of trouble.


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