The Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), on Thursday, held a memorial ceremony for the 165 military officers who died in a plane crash in 1992 at Ejigbo on the outskirts of Lagos.
The Nigeria Air Force C-130 plane crashed on Sept. 26, 1992, killing all the passengers and crew members. This is the second year the College is observing a memorial ceremony in honour of the 165 deceased officers.
The Commandant of the College, AVM Lawal Alao initiated the annual event.
NAN reports that prayers were offered for the peaceful repose of the deceased souls.
In his remarks, Alao said it was worthwhile to honour the deceased who paid the supreme sacrifice in the service of their fatherland.
“We are gathered here once again to remember the officers and men who died in the Nigerian Air Force C-130 plane crash of 26 September 1992.
“On this day, exactly 27 years ago, at about 17:45 hours, the NAF C-130 aircraft, with tail number NAF 911 crashed some minutes after take-off in the swampy area of Ejigbo, a few kilometres from Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos, killing all the 165 persons on board.
”The persons on board included seven members of Directing Staff, 140 students of Senior Course 15 and 3 support staff of AFCSC returning from a tour of naval formations in Lagos.
“The aircraft crew and few other persons travelling from Lagos to Kaduna were also onboard the aircraft.”
According to him, the unfortunate incident brought to an abrupt end the lives of promising officers, with very bright futures in the Armed Forces.
He noted that the military lost a generation of middle-level officers who were served as staff and students of the College.
“A price that will never be forgotten by the College, the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the nation in general.
“The world will not remember for long the words we say here today, but will forever remember the price paid by the beloved officers and men.”
The commandant said the entire College community still mourns the loss of the fine officers and men and their demise will forever remain in their hearts.
Alao recalled that during the 2018 Memorial, a commitment was made to construct a befitting cenotaph in the Senior Course Quarters.
“And today I am very excited to see the edifice (just beside us) etched with the names of each and everyone that was on board the ill-fated flight.”
He added further that the College decided to honour all staff and students who died while serving in the College by including their names separately in the cenotaph.
“This is to ensure that their names are not forgotten in the history of the College.”
He said the families, loved ones and relatives of the deceased should be commended for the way they held forte for the departed.
“We acknowledge that words cannot fill the void created by the death of your husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, sisters and uncles.
“We know most of these fine men and women who died were the breadwinners and pillars of their families, who had so much hope in them.
“The College and the entire AFN grieves with you and will continue to remember the sacrifice made by your departed loved ones.
” My prayer for you today is that God will continue to comfort you and give you the strength and fortitude to bear the loss.
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“As we continue to remember our departed colleagues, let us take a moment to reflect in ourselves and our own lives as staff and students of this institution.
“Let us remember our various responsibilities in view of the security challenges bedevilling our dear country, Nigeria.
“Presently, several of us are involved in one operation or the other to ensure our collective security as a nation and we appreciate their sacrifice and dedication, ” he said.
Major Egbe Usibe, a son of one of the victims of the plane crash, said the event had elicited mixed feelings in him, and said families of the victims would remain grateful to the commandant for honouring and remembering their parents for the service they rendered to the nation.
Also, Mrs Falaki Lasisi, who also lost her husband in the plane crash, said the day was a pleasant surprise for them.
She thanked the college for honouring their husbands after 27 years.