On Friday, May 21, 2020, a military aircraft crashed in Kaduna State, claiming the life of Nigeria’s newly appointed Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 other military personnel.
Nigeria has lost nearly 200 promising military personnel in non-combat military aircraft mishaps since 1992, a figure experts say is too high by global comparison. In 2021 alone, Nigeria has recorded three military aircraft crash in three months.
These recurrent accidents have had stakeholders advocating for a thorough investigation to improve the safety record of the military while also calling for proper maintenance culture of the aircraft to avert further tragedy.
The 1992 Nigerian Air Force C-130 Crash
On September 26, 1993, 159 people died in the infamous military aircraft crash on their way to a military staff college course.
According to an official report, the Nigerian Air Force Lockheed C-130H Hercules with serial number 911 crashed at Ejigbo Canal due to multiple engine failure.
A majority of the dead were said to be officers taking a course at the Nigerian Command and Staff College at Jaji, in Kaduna state.
A total 151 Nigerians, 5 Ghanaians, 1 Tanzanian, 1 Zimbabwean, and 1 Ugandan military officers were confirmed to have died.
The 2006 Dornier 228 Air Force Aircraft Crash
During the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006, a Dornier 228 Air Force aircraft carrying 10 generals, 1 lieutenant-colonel, and 2 wing commanders crashed in Benue shortly before it was due to land.
The aircraft was reportedly conveying the officers to a retreat in Ogbudu cattle ranch, Cross River State.
The 2018 Air Force F-7Ni Aircraft Crash
On Friday, September 28, 2018, the Nigerian Airforce announced one of its pilot had died in a flight mishap while rehearsing for the aerial display to mark Nigeria’s 58th Independence anniversary celebrations.
Two F-7Ni jets were involved in the crash and three pilots were able to successfully eject their aircraft. Unfortunately, one of the pilots later died due to complications from injuries sustained upon impact on the ground, according to the NAF official report.
2021 Air Force King Air 350 Crash
On February 21, minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced that the NAF’s King Air 350 aircraft had crashed short of the Abuja runway after reporting engine failure en route Minna.
All seven passengers on board the aircraft died.
Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet NAF475 Goes Off Radar
Two pilots identified as John Abolarinwa and Ebiakpo Chapele went missing while on a mission to offer air support for ground troops fighting Boko Haram insurgents back in March 2021.
An airforce statement reported that the cause of the crash as well as the whereabouts of the 2 pilots remained unknown.
Days later, Boko Haram released a video showing the crashed jet and the dead crew members.
The Nigerian Air Force Beechcraft 350i Crash
Less than two months after the disappearance of the Alpha jet, the country has recorded another aircraft tragedy that has claimed the life of Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru. Three other generals, two majors and other army and flight crew officers were also on board the ill-fated Beechcraft 350i.
Updates from an airport source in Kaduna disclosed that the plane actually landed at the Kaduna Airport runway before lifting again and subsequently nosedived and burst into flames.