In continuation of the overwhelming show of support and solidarity that has attended the demise of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) pilot, Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr) Mohammed Bello Baba-Ari, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence (MOD), Mrs Nuratu Batagarawa, has paid a condolence visit to the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
Mrs Batagarawa, who was accompanied on the visit by the Director Air Force MOD and other Directors from the Ministry, conveyed the condolences of the Honourable Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, to the CAS, officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the Service for the irreparable loss.
She prayed that God would comfort the entire NAF family and grant the departed eternal rest. She also prayed for the quick recovery of the 2 pilots that survived the incident.
In response, the CAS thanked the Permanent Secretary for the immense show of support. He noted that the complex nature of air operations implies that the risk of something going wrong cannot be totally ruled out.
He pointed out that even some of the most advanced nations still experience such incidents, despite the sophistication of their aircraft and robustness of their support infrastructure. He stated that this risk had been accepted by NAF personnel in the performance of their constitutional roles.
Speaking further, the CAS intimated Mrs Batagarawa that late Sqn Ldr Baba-Ari was a calm, knowledgeable, organized and committed officer, who was not only an excellent pilot, but also an effective leader, who often handled responsibilities far above his age and rank. He stated that Sqn Ldr Baba-Ari’s death was therefore a huge loss to the NAF. Air Marshal Abubakar however noted that the Service was consoled by the legacy left behind by the deceased officer and would ensure all steps are taken to prevent a reoccurrence. The CAS equally briefed the Permanent Secretary that the 2 surviving pilots were doing extremely well.