The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has enjoined the pilot officers who participated in the rehearsal for Nigeria’s 58th Independence and Anniversary in the FCT not to be discouraged by the recent air mishap that led to the demise of Sqn.Ldr. Baba- Ari.
Sqn.Ldr. Baba- Ari, was one of the pilots who successfully ejected from one of the F-7Ni aircraft that crashed on September 28 and who later died due to complications from injuries sustained upon impact on the ground.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that two NAF aircraft had crashed on Friday morning in the FCT when they were performing rehearsal for Nigeria’s 58th Independence Anniversary in the territory.
The air chief spoke on Tuesday in Abuja when he met with the pilots from aircraft formations that participated in the independence rehearsal.
The aircraft formations are: The Falcons (Augusta EC 135); The Sky Halk(MI35); Diamond Pormatin(Diamond 40); Rainbow(Super Mushak), Centinel Pormatin (42 and Beechcraft) and Unity Pormatin(C130/139/Alpha Jets.
Abubakar thanked God for the opportunity granted the officers to participate in the rehearsal for aerial display on October1 despite the tragic incident.
He said: “I want us not to get discouraged or be dampened by the incident and I urge you to maintain a strong heart and do this job.No matter what, we will continue to do this job.”
He urged the personnel to take heart for the sake of the departed, and pray that they continued to have success.
The air chief noted that their job was a risky one, saying that risk could not be totally eliminated from the job.
Abubakar noted that the NAF had a responsibility to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria, and provide security to Nigerians, adding that they would continue to do their constitutional duty.
He commended and praised the pilots for their commitment and courage to still carry out their duty in spite of the demise of their colleague.
He said: “I want to thank you for your dexterity, and focus, despite the incident, as mortals we all know that one day, we will leave this world, What is important is the legacy we leave behind.”
He noted that the outpouring of sympathy and goodwill for the late pilot was a testimony of the fact a person’s legacy is important.
A total of 238 personnel participated in the Independence aerial display.
Twenty nine aircraft were deployed for the anniversary; however, 22 aircraft took part in the aerial display on Indep