Retired Major General Danjuma Ali-Keffi, the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, has called on President Bola Tinubu to initiate an inquiry into the air crash that claimed the life of the former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, and 11 senior officers.
Speaking in an interview with THISDAY, Ali-Keffi raised concerns about the circumstances surrounding the crash, alleging a connection to terrorism sponsors. He expressed disappointment that the incident, which he deemed suspicious, had not been thoroughly investigated, and the full report had not been disclosed.
Ali-Keffi asserted that Attahiru played a pivotal role in devising a strategy to combat terrorism in the northern parts of the country. This strategy involved infiltrating terror groups, instigating crises among terror leaders, and targeting the financial support network of terrorism. He claimed that part of the plan was successful in eliminating Boko haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who was reportedly killed by a rival terror group, the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP).
Drawing attention to the circumstances of the crash, Ali-Keffi highlighted the sudden changes in the travel plans, aircraft, and landing location for Attahiru’s trip to Kaduna. He questioned the decision to hold a meeting at the same time as the planned departure, the change of aircraft due to technical issues, and the challenging weather conditions during the flight.
The retired general also pointed out that there was no impact crater at the crash site, suggesting a mid-air explosion. Ali-Keffi raised critical questions about the delay in the flight, the possibility of sabotage, and whether the explosion resulted from explosives or a planted bomb.
This call for a thorough investigation comes amidst previous claims by Ali-Keffi regarding his arrest, detention, and compulsory retirement following revelations from a presidential investigative task force he headed. The task force exposed the involvement of senior government officials, a top banker, and military personnel in terrorism financing.
While Ali-Keffi has presented his perspective on the air crash, the Nigerian Air Force had previously formed an audit committee to investigate the incident, and the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) collaborated to submit an interim report. The details of these reports have not been fully disclosed to the public. When contacted for a response to Ali-Keffi’s claims, Defence spokesman Brigadier General Tukur Gusau referred inquiries to the army, promising to provide further information.