Pilots of crashed Air Force jet buried


consoling_NAF_pilot's_motherThe two pilots who died in a Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet that crashed in Niamey, Niger Republic Monday last week, have been laid to rest at the National Military Cemetery on Airport Road, Abuja.

The two officers, who were buried with full military honours, are Squadron Leader Benjamin Ado and Flying Officer Ayuba Layelmenson. They died while serving with the Africa-led International Support Mission in Mali.

At the ceremony on Wednesday, the Minister of State for Defence, Mrs Olusola Obada, said that Nigeria had lost two of its officers who gave their lives for the cause of peace.

Obada said the officers’ death in the line of duty was a gallant sacrifice for peace to reign in the African continent.

“As members of the armed forces and the Nigerian nation, we must be proud of the gallant efforts of these young gentlemen who proudly showcased the great spirit and tenacity of the country far away from home.

“We must see their death as a call to duty to serve humanity.

“We must not let the sacrifice they have made with their lives go in vain.

“As we continue to confront the present security challenges in some parts of the continent and at home, we must emulate the selflessness, courage and commitment, exhibited by the late officers,’’ she said.

Obada, while conveying the condolences of President Goodluck Jonathan, said “the President and the whole nation share in your grief of losing your husbands, fathers and sons.

The minister said the president appreciated the great sacrifice of the two men and other members of the armed forces who had continued to make sacrifices to ensure enduring peace in the nation and other parts of the continent.

“The president is committed to doing all that is necessary in support of the armed forces to enable it carry out its duties to ensure the sanctity of a united Nigeria.

“At times like this, I know words of comfort would be difficult to console or heal your losses. My plea to you is to take solace in God, who is the greatest comforter,’’ she added.

In his sermon, Wing Commander Dogo Gani, the Air Force Protestant Chaplain, who took his text from Psalm 90, Verse 1-12, said that the people at the ceremony never expected that they would gather for such an event.

“As we are sitting here looking at our colleagues, what are we leaving behind and what are we going to be remembered for,’’ he asked.

Mr Joab Layelmenson, father of the late Ayuba Layelmenson, described his son as an intelligent young man who became a role model not only in the family but everywhere he went.

Layelmenson said that wherever his son went, he came out with prizes and it made the family proud.

Noel Ado, brother of Benjamin Ado, also described his brother as a very caring officer, who was ready to help others to solve problems whenever called upon to do so.

Ado, who hailed from Benue, was born on April 22, 1979 in Lagos and was admitted into Regular Course 50 of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) on Aug. 17, 1998.

He was commissioned into the Air Force as a pilot officer in September, 2003.

Layelmenson, who hailed from Gombe State, was born on August 17, 1987 in Azare Local Government Area of Gombe State.

He was admitted into Regular Course 57 of the NDA on September 26, 2005 and was commissioned Flying Officer on July 14, 2011.

The ceremony was attended by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Defence, National Security Adviser, Chief of Defence Staff, all the Service Chiefs and the Inspector General of Police.


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