Died in Service to Fatherland
On Friday, May 21, some 11 military officers and men, led by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen.Ibrahim Attahiru, paid the supreme price in service to fatherland, when a military air plane conveying them on an official assignment, crashed near the Kaduna International Airport, Kaduna State. While many of them had largely functioned behind the scenes of war theatre and in different capacities, the goal remained one: to secure the nation from the claws of vicious non-state actors. Thus, in honour of the memories of these gallant officers, who passed away in the line of duty, Kingsley Nwezeh provides short profiles on them, albeit, in excellence.
Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Attahiru
A Nigerian Army Lieutenant-General, Attahiru Ibrahim served as the 25th Chief of Army Staff of the Nigerian Army from 26 January until his death on May 21, 2021, in a military plane crash near Kaduna International Airport, Kaduna State.
Born on 10 August 1966 in Doka, Kaduna North Local Government Area, Kaduna State, Attahiru was a graduate of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, and Nigerian Army School of Infantry.
He commenced officer cadet training in January 1984 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in December 1986 as an Infantry Officer. He held a Masters’s degree in Strategic Management and Policy Studies from the Nigerian Defence Academy. He also attained a Masters of Science in Human Resources Management and Development from Salford University in the United Kingdom. He was also a Graduate Diploma in International Studies from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.
The late army chief had a tour of duty at the United Nations in Sierra Leone as a military observer, where he facilitated United Kingdom military engagement Operation BARASS in September 2000. He was an operations officer and later company commander in NIBATT 19 ECOMOG operations in Liberia.
He had the unique privilege of having commanded with distinction all through the chain of command in the Nigerian Army. Prominent among these appointments were Commanding Officer 146 Battalion Nigerian Army (Operation Harmony IV) in the Bakassi Peninsula, Commander 13 Brigade Nigerian Army (Operation Pulo Shield), and General Officer Commanding 82 Division Nigerian Army.
He was a one-time Theatre Commander Operation Lafiya Doke (the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency outfit in Northeastern Nigeria. It is on record that he brought relative stability to the region with the surrender of several Boko Haram combatants.
While he held sway as staff officer, he was unit Adjutant, 7 Battalion Nigerian Army, Serti, Chief of Staff, 1 Brigade Nigerian Army Sokoto, General Staff Officer Grade 1 Training/Operations as well as staff Duties/Plans at Headquarters 1, 2 and 81 Divisions of the Nigerian Army.
He was Deputy Director Military Secretary 2 at the AHQ MS (A) and one-time Director Army Public Relations and Spokesperson of the Nigerian Army and later director, staff duties and Deputy Chief of Policy and Plans at the Army Headquarters.
He was equally privileged to serve as Chief of Defence Transformation and Innovation and Chief of Defence Logistics at the apex organ of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Defence Headquarters Abuja.
In that position, he worked with the US Defence Logistics Agency on the Vertically Integrated Logistics Approach (VILA) Programme towards enhancing the operational readiness in the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
Born on April 19, 1971 in Kaduna, the late Brig-Gen Mohammed Idris Abdulkadir hailed from Niger State. He was the Chief of Staff to the late Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru.
He became a Brigadier-General on August 17, 2017. He received many honours including the United Nations operations medal and others from the Nigerian Army.
Brigadier-General Olatunji Olayinka
Brigadier-General Olatunji, who was born January 13, 1970 was from Ikorodu, Lagos State. He was the Provost Marshall of the Nigerian Army and also received a medal of honour from the United Nations.
Brigadier-General Abdulrahman Kuliya
He was the Acting Chief of Military Intelligence. Born on February 2, 1968 from Kano, he rose to the rank of Brigadier-General on September 10, 2017.
He holds a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and masters degree in national resource strategy as well as strategy and security administration.
Major Lawal Aliyu Hayat
Major Lawal Aliyu Hayat hailed from Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna State. He was born April 11, 1979.
He was promoted to the rank of major on September 27, 2017.
Late Major Hayat bagged a bachelor of science degree in economics and accounting and held several command positions.
Major Nura Hamza
Major Nura Hamza was born on November 20, 1979 in Kano State. He hailed from Gusau Local Government Area of Zamfara State. He attended Bayero University, Kano from 1999 to 2003, where he obtained a Bachelor of science degree in economics.
Major Hamza also bagged a master’s degree in economics, business administration and was an associate member of National Accountants of Nigeria (NAN). He became a Major on December 2, 2015 and was in office as acting deputy director of finance before his death.
Flight-Lieutenant Alfred Ayodeji Olufade
Flight Lieutenant Alfred Ayodeji Olufade hailed from Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State.He was born on February 19, 1992.
He joined the Nigerian Airforce on August 15, 2009 and was promoted to the rank of Fl-Lt on August 15, 2019. Olufade bagged a bachelor of science degree in accounting from the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA). He was only recently married.
Flight-Lieutenant Taiwo Olufemi Asaniyi
Flight Lieutenant Olufemi Asaniyi was born on February 25, 1992 in Ibadan, Oyo State. He joined the Nigerian Air Force on August 14, 2010.
He became pilot officer on 12 September 12, 2015, before being promoted to the rank of Flight-Lieutenant on August 14, 2020.
Olufade had a bachelor of science degree in Biology from the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA). He was married about two months ago and loved singing and reading.
Sergeant Umar Saidu
Sergeant Umar Saidu was from Das Local Goment Area of Bauchi State.
He was born on December 11, 1985.
He enlisted in the Nigerian Army in 2006 and was posted to the Army Corps of military police afterwards. Sergeant Umar was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2017 and served as orderly to the Chief of Army Staff.
Sergeant Adesina Isaiah
Sergeant Adesina Opeyemi Isaiah was born on April 1989 in Kaduna State.
He was recruited into the Nigerian Air Force on November 2, 2012. He was promoted corporal on November 2, 2012 and became sergeant in September 2016.
Aircraftman Oyedepo Matthew
He was born on March 20, 1998 in Osun State. Aircraftman Oyedepo Olamide Matthew joined Nigeria Air Force as non-tradesman. He was granted the rank as aircraft technician.
After he completed his basic military training at the Military Training Centre in Kaduna, he was posted to 203 Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group in Yola, and later to Abuja before he died.
The Airforce described him as “obedient and dedicated”.