Soyinka, others pay tribute to late COAS, Attahiru

• Widow: I’m setting up a foundation to inspire young Nigerians to serve
• Safety concerns on military jets resonate one year after Attahiru’s death

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and other prominent Nigerians, at the weekend, paid tribute to the late Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru.

Soyinka, who spoke in Abuja during the one year remembrance of Attahiru, organised by his Foundation established by his widow, Mrs Fati Attahiru, said Nigerians and the country at large have paid huge price to impunity and continued to suffer from the same menace.

The Nobel laureate also cautioned Nigerians against lynching people anyhow all in the name of religion, insisting that it was high time culture of impunity was eradicated in the country. 

“We have already continued to pay too high a price for the culture of appeasement and impunity. Let it end now in the name of all those who have served this nation and given their lives for this nation. 

“But the new generation should also be programmed to aspire to brutish existence below the lowest common denominator of what constitutes human’,’ he said.  

Soyinka also extolled the late COAS for his service to the nation, charging the management of General Ibrahim Attahiru Foundation (GIAF) to sustain his legacy.

In her remarks, Hajiya Aisha El-Rufai, one of the wives of Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, also dismissed a report that those killing people anyhow all in the name of ‘blasphemy’ were doing so because of Islam.  

She said: ‘’Islam does not preach what they do and the prophet if alive would not have allowed such a madness done to anyone. I feel it is necessary to defend him and the religion which this crazy people smear with their crazy actions.’’

FATI, wife of the late Attahiru, said the foundation was established to uphold the ideals and principles of her late husband. Speaking at the launch of the foundation, Fati said she hopes to inspire her daughters and other young Nigerians to serve the country wholeheartedly like her husband did with the foundation.

She said: “It is truly not how long you live but how well. As evidently, my dear husband made his mark and will continue to through the impact that this foundation intends to make.

“The General Ibrahim Attahiru Foundation was borne out of the need to uphold his ideals and principles, but more importantly for my three little girls and young Nigerians to have the will to proudly serve their country with all their might like he did and believe that their labour shall never be in vain.”

Also, a biography of Attairu, written by Niran Adedokun and documentary on his life and times directed by Adeola Osunkojo were unveiled at the event.

THE need for safety of military aircrafts has resonated one year after the death of former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, in a Nigerian Air Force Beechcraft B300 King Air 350i.

Although pundits are still worried that the cause of the incident remains unknown, military air crashes have not abated. The ill-fated aircraft killed 11 military officers onboard, including Attahiru, on May 21, 2021.

The latest was the incident in Kaduna State, which makes it five air crashes involving Nigerian military planes in the last one year.

Aviation stakeholders had noted that while the development was a blight on the nation’s safety record in global aviation, the sequence of occurrences raises a ‘red flag’ to warrant new precautionary measures to avert more disasters.

President of Nigeria Private Security Practitioners, Wilson Esangbedo, said: “We have poor maintenance culture, corruption and greed that is the bane of our society. It will be difficult to avert plane crashes in the military if those vices are not properly tackled headlong.”

National Coordinator of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said: “The military needs to kill off corruption for the procurement processes to be sanitised and forensically monitored.

“Secondly, it does not appear the EFCC is doing enough to expose corruption and procurement crimes in the military.” He, however, commended the army for doing its best to immortalise Attahiru.


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