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Last moments of the dead generals: Sorrow, tears, lamentations everywhere

Posted by By YINKA FABOWALE, BASHIR UMAR, Abuja, LUCKY NWANKWERE, Abuja on 2006/09/19 | Views: 750 |

Last moments of the dead generals: Sorrow, tears, lamentations everywhere


An outpouring of grief and shock greeted news of Sunday plane crash in which 13 senior military officers including generals perished in Mbakunu, Benue State.

An outpouring of grief and shock greeted news of Sunday plane crash in which 13 senior military officers including generals perished in Mbakunu, Benue State.

Nigerians including Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Senate President, Ken Nnamani Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola and influential businesswoman Chief (Mrs) Rita Lori Ogbebor lamented the high toll and calibre of the casualties, saying the losses were simply too much for a nation just trying to reposition its fighting force for greater effectiveness and defence of democracy.

Some called for the probing of the crash, which was acceded to by President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday.
In line with the mood of the nation, Vice President Atiku Abubakar directed his Presidential Campaign Organization to cease fire in the on-going battle between him and President Olusegun Obasanjo as a mark of respect for the victims of the military plane crash.

Expressing shock and disbelief over the death of such number of senior army officers in one fell swoop, he asked his campaign office not to respond to what he called the on-going campaign to smear his name.

The Senate President, Ken Nnamani, lamented that the generals who perished in last Sundayís plane crash were some of the finest military officers Nigeria has ever produced, and that their demise would painfully affect the operations of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
In a release signed by his Special Adviser (public communications), Mr. Austin Adamu, the Senate President, who said he received the tragic information with shock, also regretted that: "It would be difficult for the nation to replace the expertise of the officers, including two General Officers Commanding (GOCs) of the Nigerian Army, who met their sad end in the ill-fated flight".

"The accident has cruelly punctuated the growing confidence in Nigeriaís aviation, resulting from governmentís efforts to lift the sector from the ashes of last yearís multiple plane crashes", Senator Nnamani noted, and prayed God to save the country from further air mishaps.

He then condoled with the families of the deceased officers and the army high command, and called on Nigerians to join President Obasanjo in mourning the departed heroes.
Also in its condolence message, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it had received with shock the news of the untimely death of the military officers.
National Chairman of the party, Senator (Dr.) Ahmadu Ali said in the condolence letter: "we are shocked by this tragedy which has come at a time the nation is going through a process of reform and regeneration of the system".

"The loss is particularly painful because these patriotic officers have been involved in the responsibility of re-engineering and professionalising the Armed Forces," adding: "May their efforts in nation-building never be in vain".

He also prayed to God to grant their souls eternal rest.
In a statement signed by his deputy press secretary, Alhaji Muhammed Yakub, the vice president condoled the Minister of Defence, Rabiu Kwankwaso, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. General Martin Luther Agwai and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Owoeye Azazi.
"May the Almighty Allah grant the souls of the departed eternal rest and give their families the fortitude to bear the loss," he said.

Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola expressed shock at the tragic news.
Oyinlola, who knew most of the victims intimately, in his condolence letter to President Olusegun Obasanjo described them as "some of the best brains in the Nigerian military," describing their death as a national tragedy.

He expressed similar sentiments in his condolence letters to the military authorities.
"The news of the sad incident came as a rude shock considering the calibre of those involved. By this development, the Nigerian Armed Forces in particular, and our nation in general, have been robbed of the invaluable services of accomplished and vibrant senior military officers whose contributions to the development of the Armed Forces would remain indelible in the annals of Nigeria.

"I must remark that the senior military officers were some of the best brains in the Nigerian military. The fact that they constituted members of the committee on how to reposition the Nigerian Army for the next decade speaks volumes about their competence and record as gallant military officers. We share in your grief on this very sad incident," Prince Oyinlola said.

Chief (Mrs) Rita Lori Ogbebor, President, Mothers in Nigeria, regretted: "We have once again lost 14 of our illustrious sons, husbands and fathers. It is sad. It is very sad, unimaginable, mysterious, scandalous.
"It happened like this before when the country was going through a turmoil. We lost some of our high calibre officers. Now it has happened again. It is very painful. We mothers want full investigation into this tragedy. We canít accept the formula that itís a military affair. We canít accept it. The soldier has a family Ė a mother, a father, wife, children, sisters, brothers. The soldier did not fall from heaven. Only a full investigation can assuage our pains.

"A soldier who does not die in the war front has no business dying like a chicken. Our generals have no business dying like chicken within a cage, especially in a military plane.
We mothers are crying. We will forever mourn this tragedy. Only a full investigation will satisfy us. Only a full investigation will return our confidence in our country. The military is still our hope."

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.