From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The members of the House of Representatives have expressed dismay over the crash of a military aircraft which claimed the life of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt General Ibrahim Attahiru, and 10 others on Friday.
The lawmakers, in separate statements on Saturday, also called for a thorough investigation of the incident and the immortalisation of the deceased Army Chief by intensifying the counterinsurgency effort.
The minority caucus, in a statement by Minority Leader Ndudi Elumelu, described the late Attahiru and other officers involved in the crash as ‘very courageous and patriotic soldiers, who gave all in the defence of our dear fatherland.’
The opposition lawmakers ‘charged the military not to be weighed down by the tragic event but to remain focused and undeterred so as to ensure that the heroes did not die in vain.
‘Our caucus calls for a system wide investigation into the cause of the crash as well as the last two crashes of our military planes which also led to the loss of lives of our gallant and promising officers.’
The Chairman, House Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson, while sympathising with the families of the deceased and the Nigerian Army, said the death of the officers was a collosal loss to the country.
He noted that the best way to immortalise the departed senior military officers is to sustain the war effort against the insurgency, banditry and kidnappings in the country.
Also responding, the Chairman, House Committee on Army, Abdulrasak Namdas, described the deceased COAS as ‘an energetic officer who was committed to improving the security of the country, especially prosecuting the war against insurgency.’
Namdas noted that ‘in his brief stay in office as the COAS, the late Attahiru had a rolled-out plan on how to defeat Boko Haram and bring under control, other security threats, which the country faced in recent years.’
He urged ‘the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army and all gallant officers and men to remain focused and re-commit themselves to the task of safeguarding the territorial integrity of Nigeria.’