By Matthew Ajai-Kume
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has expressed shock and sadness over the tragic loss of lives in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) plane in Abuja on Sunday.
Ortom, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase on Sunday, commiserated with the families of the victims of the crash and NAF, describing the incident as unfortunate, painful and prayed for the repose of the departed. He encouraged their loved ones to look unto God for consolation.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force on Sunday said seven personnel on board a Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft died when the jet crashed in Abuja.
The aircraft en route to Minna in Niger State crashed close to a runaway of Nnamdi Azikiwe Intentional Airport after reporting engine failure.
According to a statement by the Director, Public Relation and Information, Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Air Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola, the deceased include: Flight Lieutenant Haruna Gadzama (Captain), Flight Lieutenant Henry Piyo (Co-Pilot), Flying Officer Michael Okpara (Airborne Tactical Observation System Specialist) and Warrant Officer Basset Etim.
AVM Daramola said others were, Flight Sergeant Olasunkami Olawunmi, Sergeant Ugochukwu Oluka and Aircraft Man Adewale Johnson.
He stated that, the officers were on a surveillance and rescue mission of the kidnapped staff and students of the Government Science College, Kagara in Niger State.
The air force said an investigation into the crash was under way.
“We should remain calm & wait for the outcome of investigation by the military,” Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika said in a Twitter post.