As the nation continues to mourn the late Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, and 10 other military officers who died in the recent NAF plane crash, the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo has been visiting the bereaved families and widows of the late officers to console them and offer relief and emotional support.
When tragedy hits, there is pain, grief and a sense of loss. These are tough things that would be endured. But emotional support can offer some relief for the soul and succour to the victims. In this regard, Mrs Osinbajo has been identifying with the bereaved families, consoling the widows and the children left behind by the gallant military officers.
On behalf of the First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari and herself, she had been on regular visits to the wife of the late army chief, Mrs Fati Attahiru, and other widows left behind by the crash victims.
While no amount of consolation would bring back the late military heroes, that Mrs Osinbajo took out time to show empathy to the bereaved by visiting and comforting them in their time of pain, would have provided some succour in helping them deal with the unimaginable grief.
Sensing how tragic the news was and the imaginable emotional reaction of the victims’ families, Mrs Osinbajo accompanied by the wife of Chief of Defence Staff, Mrs Victoria Irabor, immediately visited the wife of the late COAS, Mrs Fati Attahiru. It was a moment of sorrow laced with presumable degrees of pain and grief. In one of the amateur videos of the visit, the wife of the Vice President hugged the widow and did her best to console her. It could be seen that few words were spoken as palpable grief overshadowed the atmosphere.
Mrs. Osinbajo accompanied by Mrs. Irabor and the wives of the Chief of Naval Staff, Hajiya Nana Aishat Gambo and the Chief of Air Staff, Mrs. Elizabeth Olubunmi Amao, has continued visits to the wife of the late Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army, Brig-Gen. Olatunji Olayinka, and other spouses of departed army officers at the barracks.
To sympathize with the widows and relatives of all Abuja-based deceased Air Force, Mrs Osinbajo proceeded to the NAF Base near the airport, during which she met with the families of deceased officers, Flt Lt A Olufade, Sgt Adesina and ACM Oyedepo. She has now visited relatives and families of seven of the departed military officers consisting of three at the NAF Base, and four at the Niger Barracks, Abuja.
The VP’s wife’s visits have gone a long way to show that the Federal Government would do what is necessary to help the families of the deceased deal with the unfortunate incident.
Already, the Defence Headquarters and the Services are providing resources, psychological and trauma support for the care and immediate comfort of the bereaved families.
In the same vein, the Women Associations of the DHQ and the Services vis-à-vis the Defence and Police Officers’ Wives Association (DEPOWA), Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association (NAOWA), Naval Officers’ Wives Association (NOWA) and the Nigerian Air Force Officers’ Wives Association (NAFOWA), are providing humanitarian and moral support to the widows as well as orphans of the deceased officers.
The Services (NAF and Nigerian Army) are also collating information on the additional needs of the bereaved families. These include employment requirements, housing and scholarship needs, among others.
Earlier, in honour of the late Chief of Army Staff, Ibrahim Attahiru, and 10 other officers who died in the crash, President Muhammadu Buhari directed all public buildings, facilities and official residences to fly the Nigerian flag at half-mast, while also approving May 24 as a work-free day for the members of the armed forces.
Indeed, the late officers paid the supreme prize in defence of the country they had sworn to protect and defend. The ill-fated NAF plane claimed the lives of some of Nigeria’s finest soldiers. Aside from the late COAS, the other officers that died in the crash were: Brigadier-General MI Abdulkadir; Brigadier-General Olayinka; Brigadier-General Kuliya; Major L. A Hayat; Major Hamza; Sergeant Umar; Flt. Lt. TO Asaniyi; Flt. Lt. AA Olufade: Sergeant Adesina and ACM Oyedepo.
The families, who lost their loved ones in the unfortunate incident, are still coming to terms with the pain and grief. While for a nation that lost its patriots and heroes, it has undoubtedly created a vacuum in military formation that might be difficult to fill.
Mrs Osinbajo’s timely visits to the families is significant, especially as it showed that in trying times, the Federal Government, as well as Nigerians, will be there to provide emotional and sundry support to its patriots and their loved ones in times of need.