The seven personnel, killed in Sunday air mishap, has been identified by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).
According to NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air-Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola, the names of the affected officers is made public after duly informing their family and next of kin.
Daramola gave the names of the slain officers as: Flight Lieutenant Haruna Gadzama (Captain), Flight Lieutenant Henry Piyo (Co-Pilot), Flying Officer Micheal Okpara (Airborne Tactical Observation System (ATOS) Specialist), Warrant Officer Bassey Etim (ATOS Specialist), Flight Sergeant Olasunkanmi Olawunmi (ATOS Specialist), Sergeant Ugochukwu Oluka (ATOS Specialist), and Aircraftman Adewale Johnson (Onboard Technician).
In a detailed statement on the incident, Daramola said that the aircraft, a Beechcraft KingAir B350i (NAF 201), was to travel to Minna where it was scheduled to conduct surveillance missions over Niger State and its environs, to secure the release of students and staff of Government Science College, Kagara.
He noted that the mission was however aborted after the aircraft developed an engine fault and was returning to the take off point at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, when it crashed.
Part of the statement read: “ The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), 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 enroute 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 NAF spokesperson added that the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air-Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao, had also instituted an investigative panel to determine the remote and immediate causes of the accident.
He further stated that the CAS had earlier 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, ” Daramola said.