How Pilots, Toddler, Officers’ Wives Died

Hours after the ill-fated Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Donnier-228 aircraft crashed shortly after it took off, it was exclusively gathered that three of the civilians on board were wives of Air Force personnel and a toddler.

The aircraft, with call sign NAF030, had on Saturday morning crashed into a house at Ribadu Cantonment, Kaduna killing all seven people on board.

Before the plane crashed, the Abuja-bound aircraft, which took off from Kaduna military airfield at about 6:45am, was said to have floundered in the air and then crashed on top of a residential building.

While the pilot was identified as Squadron Leader Adekunle Suara, a flight instructor at the NAF 301 Flying School in Kaduna, the co-pilot was Flying Officer Kehinde Oluwatosin Olaniran.

Although only one civilian, Hassana Usman, a mother of two, was identified, the names of four other persons remain shrouded in secrecy.

However, it was gathered that the passengers on the plane were made up of two pilots, an airhostess, a technician, two women and the five-year-old child.

The two women were members of the Nigerian Air Force Wives Association (NAFOWA), a group which is the exclusive preserve of officers’ wives in the NAF.

Although they were not part of the mission, it was gathered that they were allowed on board as passengers because it is one of the perks military officers and their spouses enjoy.

In an interview, a senior NAF officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, debunked claims that the aircraft was hired by civilians.

He said: “Contrary to claims, the aircraft was not on charter service, rather it was going on a mission to Abuja.

“The civilians on board were wives of our officers. They only joined the aircraft because they were on the same destination with that of the pilots.”

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