President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, May 27 appointed Major General Farouk Yahaya as the new Chief of Army Staff. The appointment follows the death of former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 other military personnel on Friday, May 21, when the Nigerian Air Force aircraft, conveying the group to Kaduna on official assignment crashed near the Kaduna International airport. The officers were buried on Saturday, May 22 following an emotional ceremony held at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja. Lt. Gen. Attahiru was appointed as the 25th Chief of Army Staff on January 26, 2021, to succeed Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai. He previously served as Commander of ‘Operation Lafiya Dole,’ recently renamed ‘Operation Hadin Kai’, which is targeted at combating terrorism in the country’s North East region.
Following the tragic incident, tributes have poured in from within and outside Nigeria, with some sympathisers attesting to the hope Attahiru’s commitment held for Nigeria’s fight against insurgency. Several public functions have been postponed in honour of the late military chief, including the House of Representatives Security Summit initially scheduled to commence on Monday, May 24, where he was expected to make a presentation.
The air crash was the third one in four months involving aircrafts of the Nigerian Air Force, killing a total of 21 military personnel. This trend has raised concerns over the condition of the military aircrafts and has led the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao to constitute a committee to conduct a safety audit of all Nigerian Air Force operational and engineering units. The report of the committee is expected by June 18.