The Nigeria Air Force (NAF) buried the the 5 fallen heroes who lost their lives in the Mi-35M helicopter that crashed in Damasak, Borno State on 2 January 2019 while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion.
The deceased personnel, who were buried with full military honours at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja, are; late Flight Lieutenants Pereowei Jacob (Captain) and Kaltho Paul Kilyofas (Co-pilot), Sergeant Auwal Ibrahim (Flight Technician), Lance Corporal Adamu Nura (Gunner) and Aircraftman Meshack Ishmael (Gunner).
Speaking during the burial ceremony, which had in attendance the Honourable Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, stated that the 5 gallant heroes lost their lives in the pursuit of the peace which we often take for granted.
He saluted their courage stating that their deaths must spur the NAF to rededicate itself to even greater service to the Nation while strengthening our collective resolve to expose and fight all agents of destabilization and extremism in the society.
Air Marshal Abubakar emphasized that all members of the Service must throw everything they have into the fight against terrorism to ensure that our departed colleagues did not die in vain. “We must do everything possible to bring the ongoing insurgency in the North East to an end that is favourable to our nation”, he said.
The CAS restated the commitment and unalloyed loyalty of the NAF to the Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, in his efforts at tackling the security challenges facing the Nation.
Air Marshal Abubakar ended his remarks by praying for the repose of the souls of the fallen heroes, who, he re-emphasized, had paid the supreme price in pursuit of the peace and security of their fatherland.
He said they would be fondly remembered for their invaluable service to the Nation and humanity. He therefore encouraged their families to take solace in the knowledge that the Nation grieves with them, while praying that time would ease their present pains.
The Chief of Administration Headquarters NAF, Air Vice Marshal Kingsley Lar, while reading the citation of the 5 deceased personnel, noted that both pilots were members of 58 Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy.
According to him, they were exceptional and seasoned pilots who had great passion for their jobs and carried out assigned tasks diligently.