Tributes pour in for Bello Baba-Ari, Nigerian pilot who died in Abuja crash

FOR a pilot to be chosen to take part in an air show on the celebration of his country’s 58th independence anniversary must have been a dream come true, but for Bell Baba-Ari, that dream will never see the light of day.

Baba-Ari, a Squadron Leader in the Nigeria Air Force, was one of the pilots that lost his life when his F-Ni fighter jet collided with another during the final drill for the air parade that was to be displayed on Monday, October 1, during the celebration of Nigeria’s 58th independence anniversary.

Reports say three pilots were involved in the crash but two were able to eject from their aircraft, apparently, Baba-Ari’s aircraft’s ejection mechanism failed, and as the fighter jet crash-landed on the rocks of Katampe, Abuja, he died on the spot.

According to TheCable, one of the two pilots who successfully ejected from their own jets, later died in hospital, leaving only one survivor. The identity of the second deceased pilot is yet to be made clear.

Already, President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the Nigeria Air Force, as well as the families of the deceased officers, while a presidential delegation had visited the lone survivor in the hospital where he is currently receiving treatment.

Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Abba Kyari, and presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, at the Defence Intelligence Agency Hospital on Friday to visit the surviving pilot.

On the social media, tributes have been pouring in for Baba-Ari, who many described as one of Nigeria’s finest fighter jet pilot. Some who knew the deceased personally narrated how warm and friendly he was and how his death has left them heartbroken.

A Twitter user, whose handle read @Avm_ahmid, and whose profile suggests that he is also an officer of the Air Force, wrote: “You gave me your gloves just before your flight. I still can’t stop crying. A WARRIOR WITH METAL WINGS.”



    Similarly, Shehu Sani, the Senator representing Kaduna Central in the National Assembly described Baba-Ari as a dedicated and dutiful soldier and prayed to God to grant him eternal rest.

    “Squadron leader Bello Muhammed Baba Ari lost his life in the Abuja AirForce plane crash. He was a man passionate about his country and his duty. He was one of the nation’s best. May Allah grant him Aljanna Firdausi. Amin,” Sani wrote.

    The deceased, who is survived by a wife, was buried Friday evening according to Islamic rites. The burial was attended by the Chief of Air Staff, Sadiq Abubakar, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, and other top government functionaries, as well as the deceased’s family members.

    The Late Baba-Ari was buried later on Friday.

    Read more tributes below:

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