Saturday, September 29, 2018 11:41 am
Squadron Leader Bello Baba-Ari who died in the Nigerian Air Force aircraft crash in the Katampe area of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Friday has been described as a fearless and courageous pilot who took delight in combat operations against Boko Haram terrorists.
Baba Ari was in one of the two aircraft which crashed while taking part in the rehearsals for the 58th Independence Day celebrations when they reportedly collided on air.
The two other pilots in the aircraft survived the incident. But Baba Ari reportedly died due to complications from injuries he sustained upon impact on the ground.
His parachute reportedly refused to open.
Baba Ari’s colleagues said he was trained to engage in air-to-air combat while in the cockpit of a fighter aircraft.
Officers and men of the Air force who are mourning his death described him as one of the finest of the fighter pilots involved in counter-insurgency operations in North-East Nigeria and other places.
Conforming the contributions of the deceased pilot to the war against Boko Haram, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Abubakar, yesterday tweeted in tribute that the three pilots involved in the crash had been programmed for training on a higher performance aircraft that the NAF is about to acquire.
He also confirmed that all the three pilots were able to eject from the aircraft before the crash, but Baba Ari later died due complications from injuries sustained from the ejection.
“The officer, Squadron Leader Bello Baba-Ari, has been buried in accordance with Islamic rites. We pray the Almighty grants his soul eternal rest.”
In the same vein, former Director of Information NAF, AVM OA Adesanya tweets: “A huge loss indeed. I knew the late pilot personally; he was a fine, young and humble gentleman who contributed immensely to the counterinsurgency operations in the Northeast and the fight against other forms of criminality in Nigeria. May his supreme sacrifice not be in vain.”
See also PHOTOS: Burial of Pilot of crashed Air Force Jet in Abuja
DOPRI, Air Comdr Ibikunle Daramola also tweeted, “The body of Squadron Leader Bello Mohamed Baba-Ari, the @NigAirForce pilot who died earlier today after ejecting from an F-7Ni aircraft, has been laid to rest in accordance with Islamic rites. “Bello Baba-Ari was a gentleman officer, distinguished pilot, dedicated patriot and irrefutable hero of the war on terror. He will be sorely missed by @CAS_AMSadique and all members of @NigAirForce family. May the Almighty comfort his family and grant his soul eternal rest.”
The two Nigerian Air Force (NAF) F-7Ni aircraft were taking part in the rehearsals for the aerial display to mark Nigeria’s 58th Independence Anniversary Celebrations before they were involved in the air incident on Friday.
The Chief of the Air Staff has also instituted an air crash investigation to determine the remote and immediate causes of the incident.
With materials from PRNIGERIA