How Nigerian Army Clashed With Late Chief Of Army Staff, Attahiru’s Family During Burial

 The Nigerian Army on Saturday prevailed on the family of the late Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, to ensure that he was buried in a coffin, contrary to the Islamic rites.

Top army officers argued and insisted that the late army chief’s national status was more important than his or his family’s religious beliefs.

According to sources, the disagreement led to some delay on Saturday before Attahiru was committed to the earth.

“It was after the army authorities got to the National Military Cemetery that they ordered the grave to be widened to accommodate the coffin. Some of the family members were not happy that the army did not respect his and their religious stance,” a source said.

The late army chief and 10 other military officers were involved in a crash on Friday at the Kaduna International Airport while attending an official function.

Apart from Attahiru, other victims were Brigadier Generals Ahmed Kuliya, O Olayinka, and MI Abdulkadir; Majors N Hamza, LA Hayat; Sergeants O Adesina, and Umar; as well as Aircraftman OM Oyedepo, Flt Lt TO Asaniyi, and Flt Lt AA Olufade.

The 21st Chief of Army Staff was buried at the National Military Cemetery in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Attahiru had died in a Nigerian Air Force Beechcraft 350 aircraft crash at the Kaduna State International Airport and there was no survivor on the plane.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Mohamemd Yerima, had said the burial was slated for 10am. He later recanted that said it was to be held by 12.30pm.

“The Burial proceedings of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Late Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru earlier scheduled for 10.00 hours has been changed to 12.30hours. all other details remain the same,” Yerima said on Saturday amidst the confusion caused by the military versus Islamic burial arrangements.

The Nigerian Air Force had said it had begun an investigation into the cause of the crash of its NAF aircraft in which the Chief of the Army Staff was killed on Friday. 

The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Gabkwet Edward, had stated this in a release, although the air force had a record of not making its air crash investigations public. 

The NAF has yet to give the public an update on its Alpha Jet which went missing in the North-East during a Boko Haram operation about two months ago.

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