The Nigerian Air Force Base’s Protestant Church and the National Military Cemetery, Abuja, ,was a beehive as top military Officers gathered to pay their last respect to the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, who was interred on Wednesday.
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin and the three Service Chiefs, as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and two serving governors, were among those who joined others to find comforting words for grieving family of late Badeh.
Air Chief Marshal Badeh’s the immediate family members, friends and relations could not hold their tears at the church and Cemetery.
Their moods were punctuated by the unfolding events in the programme schedules of the burial ceremony.
Some members of the immediate family were seen holding onto one another, wiping tears streaming down their faces.
The Air Chief Marshal was killed on December 18, 2018, by suspected gunmen while returning from his farm located along Abuja-Keffi expressway.
The sad event sent a shocking way across the length of the country, especially regarding the status of the victim and the hypertensive security situation.
The funeral service was conducted at the Nigerian Air Force Base’s Protestant Church.
The atmosphere at the cemetery became more emotional as the body of the late ex-CDS was interned.
Shortly after the body of the late CDS was conveyed into the church in a casket wrapped in national colours, solemn hymns were rendered to set the mood for the service, which commenced at about 10: 09 am.
No sooner had the late CDS’ daughter taken the Scripture reading from Job 14:1 – 6 than tributes were delivered by the deceased family.
In a brief tribute on behalf of the family, the late Badeh’s son expressed regret his father was consumed by the same “violence” he abhorred in his lifetime.
In an emotion-laden voice, he said: ” Dad, you were never one to show your true feelings when things are tough.
“You always had a smile on your face even in adversity, you stood up for what you believed was right and tried to be fair.
“You were deeply principled and pragmatic. You might have been a big brash bulk of a man but you moved through the world gracefully.
“You abhorred violence but in the end it found you. You are loved and will never be forgotten”.
Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said Badeh’s death must serve as a wake- up call to all and sundry to lend support to the fight against crime.
Abubakar said the achievements Air Chief Marshal Badeh would remain a source of inspiration among military personnel
“He is the 18 chief of Air staff and the 15th chief of Defence Staff. He was an astute airman who earned over 6000 flying hours during his flying career.
“The death of this gentleman must steer the rest of us not only in the armed forces but indeed in Nigeria to rededicate ourselves in the service of our nation and people to deal decisively with crime and criminality.
“I’m indeed deeply touched and saddened by the manner in which we lost such an accomplished general who attained the apex of his chosen career in the Nigerian Armed forces, the nation will remain grateful to you for service,” Abubakar said.
Olonisakin noted that his immediate predecessor’s life was worth emulating.
The ex-CDS was buried with full military honours amidst the traditional 21 gun salute and presentation of flags to his family.
The laying of wreath was conducted at the Cemetary in the following order: Boss Mustapha (Secretary to the Government of the Federation); representative of the Minister of Defence, CDS, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai (Chief of Army Staff); Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas (Chief of Naval Staff); Mrs. Mary Badeh (deceased’s wife) as well as representative of Regular Course 21, Badeh’s course mates at the Nigerian Defence Academy.
The Governors of Adamawa state, Mohammed Bindow and that of Plateau, Simon Lalong, as well as the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State and some former governors of Adamawa state were among dignitaries that graced the occasion.