The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has given a heroic burial to its late Instructor Pilot, Group Captain Adanu Gabriel Ochai, who lost his life in an air mishap involving a NAF Air Beetle aircraft on 24 August 2017 in Kaduna. The late senior officer was today, 6 September 2017, laid to rest at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja.
In his remarks at the burial ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said the demise of Group Captain Ochai called for sober reflection and described it as a great loss to the NAF and to the nation at large. According to him, the NAF had lost a hardworking, committed and excellent senior officer who, during his lifetime, contributed to some feats in the NAF. One of such feats was the successful training and graduation of 16 NAF student pilots who completed their initial flying training while still being cadets at the Nigerian Defence Academy. That was a target last achieved 32 years ago, according to the CAS. He described the late senior officer as a dedicated pilot who went the extra-mile to add value to the NAF. Air Marshal Abubakar assured the immediate family of the deceased that they remained a part of the Air Force Family and would be so treated.
While paying the last tributes on behalf of the Ochai Family, the elder brother of the deceased senior officer, Brigadier General John Ochai, expressed appreciation to the NAF for honouring his late brother with a national burial. He described his late brother as one who always loved service more than self. He stated that his late brother had great plans for his family. He therefore pledged that with God’s assistance, he would ensure that no vacuum was left as a result of the death of his brother. Earlier in his remarks, a course mate and close friend of the departed senior officer, Group Captain Olufemi Ogunsina, also extolled the virtues of the late instructor pilot, noting that he died while doing what he was passionate about.
The burial ceremony was attended by the acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, who represented the Honourable Minister. Equally in attendance were other top government officials, current and past Service Chiefs, several serving and retired senior military officers, members of the Diplomatic Corps, eminent civilians, relatives and friends in a display of what only attested to the good legacy left behind by the late Group Captain Adanu Gabriel Ochai. Highlights of the ceremony included the laying of wreaths by dignitaries and wife of the deceased as well as the presentation of the National Colours, by the CAS, to the wife of the deceased, Mrs Rita Ochai.