A memorial was organized on Saturday in honor of Nigerian Army Chief Ibrahim Attahiru, who was implicated in the crash of a military plane near Kaduna International Airport on May 21, 2021.
Nigeria lost 11 brave soldiers, including Mr. Attahiru, a lieutenant general, in the unfortunate incident.
The General Ibrahim Attahiru Foundation (GIAF), established by his widow Fati Attahiru, organized the event, which was held at the Sheraton Abuja Hotel’s Ladi Kwali Hall.
Wole Soyinka, a Nobel laureate, and Nasir Ado Bayero, the Emir of Bichi, were some of the dignitaries at the event.
Nigeria’s senior military officials, including senior officers in service and retired and heads of security agencies, were decked out in their full regalia.
High-ranking government officials, traditional leaders and journalists were also present.
In addition to the memorial, a book about the life and times of the late army chief was also presented at the event.
Praising the late army chief, Mr. Soyinka in his speech described the late army chief as a real Nigerian whose life should be emulated.
The Nobel laureate also took the opportunity to address the recent spate of violence sweeping the nation.
He warned Nigerians against jungle justice in the name of religion and insisted it was high time to eradicate a culture of impunity in the country.
“We have already continued to pay too high a price for the culture of appeasement and impunity. Let it end now on behalf of all those who have served this nation and gave their lives for this nation.
“But the new generation should also be programmed to seek a brutal existence below the lowest common denominator of what makes us human,” he said.
A significant highlight of the commemoration was the publication of the book about the life of the late Attahiru.
The book, entitled The Man, The Soldier, The Patriot, was written by Niran Adedokun, a public relations expert and lawyer, and published by Cable Books, a division of Cable Newspapers Limited.
Shortly after the book launch, Mr Adedokun said he was privileged to have been invited to write about the life of Attahiru, whom he described as “a true Nigerian hero”.
He said: “I was invited to write the book by the General Ibrahim Attahiru Foundation and now, looking back, I feel very privileged to have been invited to write the book because I didn’t know General Attahiru beyond that what I read about him in the media up until his death,” he said.
“When I started writing the book, I discovered that he was indeed a true Nigerian hero whose life inspired many people and I feel privileged to have been invited to document his life for all to read can will find inspiration about Nigeria.”
When asked about the challenges he faced in writing the book, he said it was difficult to find the late army chief’s colleagues and friends because “most military officers are introverts by nature.”
Regarding the significant climax of the book, the author said the biography portrayed Mr. Attahiru as a man who loved Nigeria and a soldier who worked to end the uprising in the country.
He said the book is essential for posterity as it contains many lessons on how Nigerians in top positions can work effectively by being of descent like the late Attahiru.
He said he hopes the current government effectively carries out Mr Attahiru’s mandate, adding: “He seemed to have the determination, he seemed to know what needs to be done in terms of security in Nigeria.
He said: “I don’t think much has changed after his tenure. The best I can say is that I hope the people who followed him will follow the path he charted for the army.”
During the book launch, Mr. Attahiru’s widow, Fati, said her husband will continue to leave his mark on the foundation.
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She said she hopes it inspires her three little girls and other young Nigerians to serve the country as the late army chief did.
“It really doesn’t matter how long you live, it matters how well. Obviously, through the impact this foundation intends to leave, my dear husband has made his mark and will continue to do so,” she said.
Alongside the release of the biography, a documentary film about the life and times of the late army chief entitled “Ibrahim Attahiru, a Soldier of a Soldier” premiered.
Adeola Osunkojo produced and directed the project.
About the late Attahiru
On May 21, 2021, Attahiru, who was en route to Kaduna to attend 80RRI’s fainting parade in the Nigerian Depot Army, died in a plane crash along with ten officers. He was only four months into his tenure.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in an opiniondescribed the crash as a “death blow … at a time when our armed forces stand ready to end the security challenges facing the country.”
The crash came three months after a small Nigerian Air Force passenger plane crashed just outside Abuja Airport after an alleged engine failure, killing all seven people on board. Continue reading.
The Air Force said in a statement that its plane crashed near Kaduna Airport and that it is investigating the cause, but a year later there has been no word of that investigation.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, has a poor flight safety record, although it has improved in recent years.
Mr Buhari appointed Mr Attahiru along with other military chiefs in January 2021 after years of criticism of the spread of violence by Islamist insurgents and armed gangs.
Boko Haram and its offshoot, the Islamic State of West Africa province, have waged a decade-long insurgency that has displaced an estimated 2 million people and killed more than 30,000. They want to create states based on their extreme interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.
Mr. Attahiru took office on January 26, 2021. Born in Kaduna, the soldier was a graduate of the Nigerian Defense Academy, Armed Forces Command and Staff College and Nigerian Army School of Infantry. He began officer cadet training in January 1984 and was commissioned as a lieutenant in December 1986 as an infantry officer.
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