NAF Plane Crash: Flags Fly At Half Mast At Presidential Villa

The national flag and other flags at the Presidential Villa in Abuja are currently flying at half-mast in line with a directive issued by President Muhammadu Buhari.

This in honour of the late Chief of Army Staff Ahmed Attahiru and other military officers, who died in a plane crash on Friday.

President Buhari on Sunday directed that the national flag be flown at half-mast in all public buildings, facilities, and official residences across the country.

The directive was announced by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who revealed that the gesture would last for three days.

Media aides to President Buhari, Bashir Ahmad, and Lauretta Onochie shared the pictures using their official Twitter handle.

“The National Flags flying at half-mast at the State House, Abuja and across the country, in honour of the late Chief of Army Staff and other military officers, who died in a plane crash on Friday,” Bashir Ahmad tweeted.


China Calls On All Mosques To Raise National Flag


All Chinese mosques should raise the national flag to “promote a spirit of patriotism” among Muslims, the country’s top Islamic regulatory body has declared, as the Communist Party seeks to tighten its grip on religion. 

Flags should be hung in a “prominent position” in all mosque courtyards, the China Islamic Association said in a letter published Saturday on its website.

This would “further strengthen the understanding of national and civic ideals, and promote a spirit of patriotism among Muslims of all ethnic groups”, it read.

Mosques should also publicly display information on the party’s “core socialist values”, and explain them to devotees via Islamic scripture so that they will be “deeply rooted in people’s hearts”, it said.

The China Islamic Association is a government-affiliated body and has the sole power to accredit imams.

The letter comes on the heels of China’s newly revised Regulations on Religious Affairs, which came into effect in February and prompted rights groups to voice concern for religious freedoms.

The new regulations intensified punishments for unsanctioned religious activities and increased state supervision of religion in a bid to “block extremism” and tackle what Beijing sees as internal threats.

Mosque staff should organise study of the Chinese constitution and other relevant laws — particularly the new religious regulations, the letter said.

They should also study Chinese classics and set up courses on traditional Chinese culture, while being sure to focus only on Muslim sages of Chinese rather than foreign origin, it added.

The goal, it said, was for mosques to become “a solid platform for the study of the party and the country’s laws and policies” in addition to houses of worship, and thereby develop among Muslims “an understanding of a common Chinese identity” with the majority Han.

Islam is one of the five religions officially recognised by the atheist Communist party. The country is home to some 23 million Muslims.

But restrictions on them are intensifying, particularly in the northwestern province of Xinjiang which is home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority, where there are bans on beards and public prayers.

Tens of thousands of Uighurs have been sent to shadowy detention and re-education centres for perceived offences and can be held indefinitely without due process.

Authorities say the restrictions and heavy police presence in Xinjiang are intended to control the spread of Islamic extremism and separatist movements, but analysts say the region is becoming an open-air prison.


Nigerian Air Force Buries Pilot Who Died In Bama, Borno State

Nigerian Air ForceThe Nigerian Air Force has buried its pilot who died in a crash during a training mission in Bama, Borno State.

At the burial ceremony, the Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, said that the ultimate sacrifice paid by Flight Lieutenant Akweke Nwakile should not just serve as a call to duty to members of the Armed Forces but to all Nigerians.

The Minister praised the loyalty and dedication of the officer and gave assurances that Nigeria would not forget him.

He also urged officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces to see the death of the officer and indeed other fallen heroes of the Nigerian military as a call to do more to ensure the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

The Minister promised that the Government would continue to work to put an end to insecurity in the country.

Military officers and their relations were at the military cemetery in Abuja for the burial, and shortly after the corpse of the officer was brought by the pall bearers, a Christian requiem service and prayers were offered for the repose of the soul of the deceased. Then he was laid to rest.

In line with military tradition, the national flag was presented to his next –of-kin, while wreaths were laid in his honour. This was followed by the firing of the volley as a mark of honour for his gallantry.

Akweke Nwakile lost his life during a training mission in Bama, Borno State. The late Air Force Officer was a member of the Joint Task Force Operation Zaman Lafiya in the north-eastern part of Nigeria.


War Veteran Says Obasanjo’s Civil War Memoir Is Full Of Errors

A Nigerian war veteran, Brigadier General Godwin Alabi-Isama (Rtd), has said that former president Olusegun Obasnajo’s memoir of the civil war, My Command, is full of errors, adding that, the former military head of state only joined the war 30 days to its end.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Alabi-Isama debunked claims that his recently published civil war memoir titled Tragedy of Victory, is about General Olusegun Obasanjo but rather about his work at the war front.

“This book is not about Obasanjo”. “It is about his work” in the war front, he said.

“He was not there” and “he did not know enough,” he added.

He alleged that many of the older soldiers who fought in the war ‘made noise’ about their activities in the war in order to secure political positions.

“I didn’t know that if I made a lot of noise about what I did, I could have been made a governor or minister or a head of state but all these elder people knew what it would be if they made a lot of noise.”

“Every sentence there on strategy and tactics is not right.” Even “the captions on some pictures are not correct”

Alabi-Isama, who was once a Chief of Staff and then Sector Commander, said working with the former head of state was “very difficult”

He said although the book is not about him, it is impossible not to mention Obasanjo, who only came to the battlefield 30 days before the end of the war which lasted six months.

“When somebody was not there but claimed to be there, it can be very annoying”

The book, he said, records his own participation in the war, what people did to him and what he did to/for them.

The book, Tragedy of Victory, is a 670 page memoir containing his account of the Biafran war, 450 war pictures (some duplicated), 35 maps and 19 documents of the war.

The war veteran explained the title of the book which came about because the civil war was successful but has resulted in tragedy because lessons were not learnt from it.

“Where did we find the war in the first place? The first coup said there was corruption, there was nepotism, there was banality

Don’t we have that now?” he asked.

Retired soldiers

Alabi-Isama raised concerns about the welfare of men who fought in the war and are now retired with little or nothing to live by. He also mentioned Baba Akinkunmi, who designed the National flag but can “barely feed himself”.

“How much does it cost for this country to look after a person like that?”

One of the soldiers who he worked with, Major Salau (retired) is left to fend for himself with N2,600 as pension every month. “Civil war soldiers have become beggars all over the country.”

“This is quite a tragedy,” he said.

This trend, he said, would create an effect in the psyche of the younger generation who would be discouraged from doing ‘anything nice for the country’ because the country isn’t looking after anybody.

“The aim of the book is to address the youth, who will be leaders of tomorrow.”

Lesson from civil war

Asked if the country has learned lessons it should have learnt from the war, he said “we haven’t learnt anything and that’s why it’s a tragedy”

He said the war was to foster unity “We wanted unity in the country, But are we united?” he asked.

“We need competition. We need true federalism”.