Nigerians were jolted in the evening of Friday 21st May, 2021 when there was a breaking news reporting the crash of a Nigerian military aircraft in Kaduna, killing the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru, some other senior officers and crew members all totalling eleven on the ill fated aircraft. The actual cause of the crash is yet to be technically determined but preliminary report attributed the incident to inclement weather.
This latest incident brought to three air crashes involving Nigeria’s military aircraft within a period of two months. On February 21, 2021 King Air 350i plane belonging to Nigerian Air Force had crashed near Abuja airport killing seven military personnel on board.
The plane was returning to Abuja airport after reporting engine failure en route to Minna in Niger State.
On March 31, 2021, a Nigerian Air Force jet supporting ground troops fighting Boko Haram terrorists in North East, Borno State went missing and no details of its whereabouts with its crew had been ascertained. The aircraft had reportedly disappeared from the Radar.
For a nation struggling to cope with its myriads of insecurity to have lost three military aircraft along with number of officers and men on whom so much tax payers money had been spent in their various local and foreign trainings, is no mean loss. Nigeria is truly in a moment of grief if the truth must be told.
Much as these crashes may have been ordained spiritually to occur, it is still within the realm of good reasoning that the crashes may have been avoided in a manner that the spiritual was evaded since the average human being believes that God helps those who help themselves.
In this light, it becomes seriously imperative that the authorities should have gone beyond the ordinary to determine what caused the first crash in February. If we believed that it was engine failure, could it not have been advisable for the other similarly 350i branded aircraft in the fleet of the Nigerian Air Force to be grounded until the possible cause of the engine failure of the 21st February, 2021 was ascertained?
The same make of aircraft went missing after disappearing from the Radar. Could it have been engine failure too? What could have caused the disappearance from the Radar?
The Friday 21st May incident which preliminary report attributed to inclement weather is still unbelievable if the media reports from witnesses within the airport environment are to be believed.
While some reports said the aircraft had landed before it burst into flames, other reports said the aircraft exploded as it was negotiating its final descent. This second version seems to have more credence if the video showing fighters at the crash scene is to be relied upon. The scene is not a run way or airport tarmac but a bush area that suggests the plan must actually have been on its final descent before the explosion occurred.
With this repeated occurrences involving the same brand of aircraft in the fleet of the military, SECURITY REPORTERS.com is of the view that both the military authorities, the aviation ministry and the Presidency should look beyond the conclusion that the various incidents were mere coincidences.
We recommend a high powered technically driven investigation by aviation experts from any where in the world, to prove these crashes and possibly ascertain if the accident largely have to do with any technical failure in the make of the aircraft, age, maintenance or human error.
Let us not forget too soon how BAC 111 brand of aircraft used for commercial flight operations in the fleet of some local airlines were crashing in early days of the Fourth Republic (2001 and thereabout) before the Olusegun Obasanjo administration took steps to phase out that brand of aircraft from Nigeria’s air space based on findings after diligent investigation sequel to incessant crashes involving BAC111 brand.
As we join in mourning the souls of the departed military officers, let us hope that the authorities will do the needful by not taking any thing for granted. We will even go further to suggest that more intelligence is applied in investigating the various incidents with a view to ascertaining if there are insider elements who had chosen to play the devil’s role.
Let us not forget that both the past and present national leadership had had occasion to say that there are Boko Haram supporters or agent within the government. Occasions had also evidently revealed that some Nigerian soldiers are moles giving intelligence to Boko Haram elements hence it was possible for some operations of Nigerian troops to be thwarted.
SECURITY REPORTERS.com therefore recommends an all encompassing investigation to unravel the mystery behind these incessant air crashes before another Nigerian military plane goes down avoidably wasting our gallant men throwing their families, dependants and generations into perpetual sorrow,tear and grief.