Tukur Buratai, former chief of army staff, says the late Ibrahim Attahiru, his successor, was on the verge of making the country proud in the fight against insurgency when he died.
Attahiru and 10 military officers lost their lives in an air crash near Kaduna International Airport on Friday.
They were all buried on Saturday at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja.
NAN quoted the late army chief as saying Attahiru was determined to successfully lead the army.
“He was at the verge of making the nation proud in the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism efforts when this tragedy occurred,” the retired general said.
“I do not doubt his ability as he had served under me in various capacities and was well grounded for the job with active support and collaboration of his colleagues.
“I was deeply shocked and saddened by the news of the passing away of my immediate successor, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, the Acting Chief of Military Intelligence, Acting Provost Marshal (Army), his Chief of Staff, the Aide-de-Camp and the Acting Deputy Director Finance in the office of the COAS, his Orderly, as well as the pilots and crew in an air crash on May 21 at Kaduna Airport.
“I would like to, on behalf of my family, reiterate my deepest sympathy and condolences to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Federal Republic of Nigeria, the families of the deceased, the Honourable Minister of Defence, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Air Staff, gallant officers, soldiers and airmen of the Armed Forces of Nigeria over the passing away of these courageous, loyal and patriotic Nigerians in line of duty.”
Buratai asked the military to consolidate on the gains of the late officers.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of these great heroes. May the Almighty Allah grant them eternal rest,” he said.