Since last week Friday, when Beechcraft 350 military aircraft crashed and killed the Chief of Army Staff alongside 10 others, Nigerians have been reacting. The crash was the third in the last three months.
Former Assistant Director, Nigerian State Security Services (Investigations & Intelligence) Dennis Amachree.
“It calls for serious investigation. It is becoming too frequent and worrisome. Now the Chief of Army Staff has lost his life. It raises a lot of questions that need to be asked. The security agencies need to double their efforts to unravel the cause. Could it be sabotage, human or equipment failure or a combination of all the factors? A thorough investigation has been ordered. My take is that the findings must be made public. As human beings, the Army Generals may now be sceptical about flying the military aircraft.”
The National President, Defense and Police Officers Wives Association (DEPOWA), Victoria Irabor.
“Today, Nigeria is experiencing insecurity but our hope and belief is that their death is not in vain. Today, they are the heroes of Nigeria and we are proud of them and we take solace in the fact that they made so much sacrifice for the nation, just for the peace and security of Nigeria.”
National chairman, Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF), Mr. Elliot Afiyo.
“We received with disbelief and astonishment the news of a plane crash which claimed the lives of officers of the Nigerian Army and Air Force, including that of the Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru. We sincerely and honestly frowned at the manner and rate of these plane crashes. We, therefore, call for the immediate composition of an independent investigative panel to ascertain the remote cause(s) of this plane crash and the Report must be made public.”
Security expert, Dr. Ona Ekhomu.
“Different factors could contribute to plane crash with its peculiarities. The latest crash of the Nigeria Military Beechcraft from all the information available for now appears to have been caused by bad weather. The plane could not land at its original destination and had to divert to the international airport where it crashed probably because of windshear sometimes referred to as wind gradient. It is a difference in wind speed or direction over a relatively short distance in the atmosphere. From the video of the crash I saw, it could be seen that the plane made it to the runway but the pilot could not stop it, till it went off the tarmac into a moody landscape, flipped and crashed.
In one of the three crashes where seven officers died, it was an equipment failure. The pilot took off, observed engine problems and tried to return to ground. He was very brave; avoided buildings around the place before it crash landed and killed the officers. Another one, still under investigation, was in a hostile environment which made insurgents claim that they brought it down. But the video they showed did not support their claim because it was an old video. However, the plane has not been recovered, meaning that the worst may have happened.
The role of various agencies connected with the flight needs to be thoroughly investigated and evaluated, especially the Nigerian Meteorological Agency. Did they inform the pilots about the direction of the wind? If they did not, then somebody may have been negligent and has to be severely punished. Besides, there is a need to acquire more air assets so that the few planes available will not be overstretched, like the one that killed former National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen Owoye Andrew Azazi. There is also a need for adequate maintenance of the equipment and infrastructure. Above all, the role of mother nature cannot be ruled out. It could present circumstances that may be beyond human control.”
“The first question that came to my mind was “Is Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru killed to silence him? After his appointment as the Nigerian army chief, Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru boldly told Nigerians that the Nigerian Army has acute deficiency of weaponry despite the huge funds spent on weapon purchase. The National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Munguno, in a BBC Hausa interview, backed Attahiru’s statement. The bloody Boko Haram insurgency has been going on for the past 10 years with no end in sight, despite the colossal amount of money spent to fight it. Government officials and high ranking military officers have looted billions and billions of naira from these funds. Attahiru spoke against this mass looting of funds earmarked to buy weapons. He became a target of the wicked and evil cabal. Was General Attahiru eliminated? Nigerians must ask this question and insist on an independent probe on the plane crash. Those who brazenly loot the funds to buy weapons are wicked saboteurs and enemies of Nigerians and the Nigerian state.”
“Gen Attahiru died a needless death; may his soul rest in peace. He died as a result of the failed Nigerian system of doing things. We Nigerians have always failed in common sense. The US military would have grounded the Beachcraft airplane for serious and rigorous investigations before allowing it to fly. Mind you, it was the same aircraft model belonging to the Air Force that killed seven personnel in February. It’s sad we are always victims of our own doing. Common sense dictates you should look for an alternative landing location when you know the weather is bad and the airport lacks emergency landing solutions. We need to change our managerial mentality. Human error is number one on the list of fatal air crashes. The Beachcraft 350, if any is remaining within the Air orce fleet, should be grounded as a matter of urgency.”