The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says the seven personnel who died in the plane crash that occurred at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja Sunday mornimg, were scheduled to conduct surveillance missions over Niger State amidst efforts to secure the release of the students and staff abducted from the Government Science College Kagara.
Air Force spokesman Ibikunle Daramola, an Air Vice Marshal stated this in a statement on Sunday and gave the names of the dead officers.
He said the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) has instituted an investigative panel to determine the remote and immediate causes of the accident.
“The Nigerian Air Force earlier today, 21 February 2021, confirmed that one of its aircraft, a Beechcraft KingAir B350i (NAF 201), crashed while returning to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja after reporting engine failure en-route Minna, where it was scheduled to conduct surveillance missions over Niger State and its environs in connection with the concerted efforts to secure the release of the students/staff abducted from the Government Science College Kagara, Niger State,” the statement read.
“As earlier stated, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao, has instituted an investigative panel to determine the remote and immediate causes of the accident.
“While the panel has commenced its work, the NAF, having notified the Next of Kin/family members of the deceased, regretfully announces that the following 7 personnel lost their lives in the crash:
a. Flight Lieutenant Haruna Gadzama (Captain).
b. Flight Lieutenant Henry Piyo (Co-Pilot).
c. Flying Officer Micheal Okpara (Airborne Tactical Observation System (ATOS) Specialist).
d. Warrant Officer Bassey Etim (ATOS Specialist).
e. Flight Sergeant Olasunkanmi Olawunmi (ATOS Specialist).
f. Sergeant Ugochukwu Oluka (ATOS Specialist).
g. Aircraftman Adewale Johnson (Onboard Technician).
“Earlier, the CAS visited the scene of the accident, in company of the Honourable Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retired); Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika; Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Lucky Irabor, and other Service Chiefs.
“The CAS, on behalf of officers, airmen and airwomen of the NAF, once more commiserates with the families of the deceased personnel and prays that the Almighty God grants their souls eternal repose.”
By Abel Ejikeme