It was quite an awful and disastrous weekend for Nigerians when an aircraft conveying the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru burst into flames killing him and other ten persons on board. Among those killed were young military officers whose careers have been cut short in the morning of their lives.
The crash reports indicate is the third time within four month that similar losses are being suffered by the military. It rarely happens among nations that its top brass would be consumed in such a manner. This is the reason it is considered in some quarters that the incident is a national embarrassment.
Aside the loss of air craft, what is lost in terms of manpower value is unquantifiable. It is difficult to quantify actually the value of one human life in terms of naira and kobo. So much has been expended in the training and imbibing of skills in the lost officers as well as their potential contributions. In addition, those they have left behind will live to miss them and whatever benefits they would have provided family members.
The repeated crashes in so short a time leave so much to be desired, not only leaving much for concern but elicits so many questions. Each time any of these past incidents occur there is usually a probe instituted to unravel the causes but how these probes and their results end up is usually not known.
The continued crash of our planes has been interpreted in some quarters to mean that no lessons are actually learned from the previous experiences. So many issues have been fingered as responsible for the consistent air mishaps, implying that there are fundamental issues that were yet to get the required attention. They need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Some of these issues range from poor maintenance culture of the aircrafts, poor funding, inexperience, natural factors, sabotage etc. It is argued that the entire military outfit comprising the navy, army and air force are grossly underfunded. Reports have it that the last budgetary provisions for the outfits amounts to 2bn dollars.
Among security professionals this is considered grossly inadequate for operational activities, replacement of hard wares, maintenance, etc. The military simply put is not resourced. There should be zero tolerance for any fault and identified faults should never be managed given the disastrous consequences that may result there from such as we have at hand.
The consequences of poor funding can only but lead to low moral which will impact negatively on productivity. Nigerian military officers have been identified as one of the bests in the world. This accolade ought to be matched with the provision of resources to compliment their performances.
There is no better time to do so than now when the security of the nation is highly challenged. The role of the military should be appreciated very well.
News Echo wishes to condole the federal government over this loss. In doing so, we must not fail to advise that the federal government should institute a probe into the judicious use of the budgetary votes made to the security sector.
In the wake of the increasing security situations which has dislocated the nation, it is reported that huge sums are being allocated to security without enjoying the required commensurate benefits.
The military like many sectors are not sufficiently catered for but we insist that whatever is made available should be utilized for that purpose rather than end up in private pockets. It is clear we are vulnerable to some of these issues. Until they are resolved we will continue to experience same results.
We urge any probe to include possible sabotage from within and without as well as check any culpability especially from agitators or freedom fighters. Nothing should be spared.