The Nigerian Army has arranged the burial proceedings of the late Chief of Army Staff, Ibrahim Attahiru, and ten other senior officers for 10 a.m. on Saturday.
The late COAS, alongside other senior officers, died on Friday in a plane crash while on an official trip to Kaduna State.
Neither the Airforce nor the Army has given full details of the occupants in the ill-fated aircraft in the statements by their spokespersons.
Mr Attahiru, born in Kaduna on August 10, 1966, was a major general before his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari as COAS in January 2021.
This was after the resignation of Tukur Buratai, a lieutenant general.
Before his appointment, the late army major, was the General Officer Commanding 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu.
Mr Attahiru was at a time the Theatre Commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole until 2017 when he was redeployed.
He had barely spent four months in his new post before the shocking news of his sudden demise on Friday.
PREMIUM TIMES will provide live updates of the ongoing burial proceedings of the late COAS and ten other officers rescheduled for 12:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, the venue for the Church Service has been changed from National Christian Centre to Nigerian Airforce Protestant Church, Bill Clinton Drive Airport Road Abuja.
The arrangement for the National Mosque remains the same.
The internment would take place at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja.
The time for the final interment prayer has now been shifted from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Guests are still trooping into the premises of the National Mosque.
Similarly, the Army has also changed the venue of the Christian service from National Christian Centre, Abuja to Nigerian Airforce Protestant Church, Bill Clinton Drive Airport Road Abuja.
Army spokesperson, Mohammed Yerima, made this known in a statement on Saturday morning.
Both the mosque and church service would hold simultaneously.
12:32 p.m.: Choir Ministration ongoing at Nigerian Airforce Protestant Church, Bill Clinton Drive, Airport Road, Abuja.
Caskets of five of the late Nigerian Army officers laid on the altar.
12:39 p.m.: Family, friends, colleagues and sympathisers of the deceased officers are still coming into the venue of the funeral.
The wife of the late Army Chief, Fatima Attahiru, and wife of one of the late generals, identified as Kuliya, have just arrived at the venue.
12:41 p.m.- The Chief of Air Staff, Isiaka Oladayo, an air Marshall, concluded his remarks about the late Mr Attahiru and other officers who died in the plane crash.
He described the fallen officers as patriotic and selfless all through their service to the country.
12:47 p.m -The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, walked into the venue.
His presence was recognised by the priest in charge, D.B Gani.
12:51: Mr Gani commenced his teaching on ‘Confidence.’
1:01 p.m.: Mr Gani implored all officers present to put their confidence in the Lord as confidence in one’s marriage, community and even worldly positions may let one down.
He concluded his preaching at exactly 1:05 p.m.
1:06 p.m.: The priest invited the families of the deceased officers to the altar and raised some prayer points on their behalf.
Ministers of Defence, Bashir Magashi, Minister of Communications, Ali Pantami, NSA, Babagana Mongono and former defence minister, Mansur Dan Ali, are also in attendance.
The Muslim zuhur prayers will be observed, to be followed immediately by the funeral prayers.
1:12pm: The church is singing the closing hymns amidst the heartbreaking cries of family members of the deceased military officers.
Also in attendance are Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali, Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, and former Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau.
Others are former Governors Kashim Shettima, Aliyu Wammako and the Director-General of SSS, Yusuf Bichi.
More dignitaries are trooping in. Prominent among them are Senate President Ahmed Lawan, and members of the National Assembly.
1:15 p.m.: The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, mounted the altar to deliver the message of the President Muhammadu Buhari.
He described the moment as one filled with sorrow and grief.
Mr Mustapha said, “our safety is domicile in the confidence of God.”
He expressed the government’s deepest condolences and prayed for strength for the families of the deceased and the Nigerian Army at large to shoulder the loss.
“I extend the deepest condolences to the families of the late officers and the entire members of the Nigerian Army,” he said.
Caskets of late Nigerian Army officers leaving the church for National Military Cemetery.
Dignitaries are arriving at the military cemetery for the final internment of the military officers.
Notable amongst them are the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala-Buni.
Other dignitaries in attendance are Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, Chief of Air Staff, Oladayo Amao, Chief of Naval Staff, Awwal Gambo.
2:36 p.m. PREMIUM TIMES counted 11 graves dug at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari was represented by the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi.
The presence of the Kaduna State Governor, Nadir El-Rufai; Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed and Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, was also recognised at the cemetery.
People are gathered to witness the burial activities of the late officers.
The Chief of Policy and Planning, Ahanotu, a major general, is now reading the funeral oration of the late COAS.
He is basically reading the citation of Mr Attahiru.
From the citation, it is observed that he attained all his ranks on January 19 of different years, except his last promotion to lieutenant general, which he attained on March 5, 2021, upon his assumption of office as COAS.
3:32 p.m.: Men of the Nigerian Army marching towards the graves to lower the caskets of the eleven officers.
The caskets of the eleven late officers were finally lowered to the ground at 4:22pm after priests and imams in charge gave their final remarks amidst the wailings of family members and loved ones
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