The two were pilots with the Nigerian Air Force who lost their lives May 6 2013, in an Alpha jet air crash while serving with the African-led intervention Force in Mali, AFISMA,
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, enjoined serving members of the armed forces to see the unfortunate demise of the officers as a call to service to the nation and, indeed, Africa.
The minister said: “Though the dreams of a promising and fulfilling career of these young officers have been cut short, the present security challenges we face demand of us courage, selflessness and great commitment.
“As we continue to confront the present security challenges in some parts of the continent and at home, we must emulate the selflessness, courage and commitment exhibited by the late officers.
“Their death, though in the line of duty, was a gallant sacrifice for peace to reign on the African continent. As members of the Armed Forces and the Nigerian nation, we must be proud of the gallant efforts of these young gentlemen who proudly showcased the great spirit and tenacity of the Nigerian far away from home.
“We must see their deaths as a call to duty to serve humanity. We must not let the sacrifice they have paid with their lives to be in vain.”
She conveyed the condolences of President Goodluck Jonathan to the families of the officers for their untimely death.
“To the families of Benjamin and Ayuba, the President and the whole nation share in your grief of having lost a husband, father, brother and sons.
“The President appreciates the great sacrifice of these two young men and other members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria for your continued sacrifices to ensure enduring peace in our nation and other parts of the African continent.
“Mr. President is committed to doing all that is necessary to support the Armed Forces in carrying out its duties towards ensuring the sanctity of a united Nigeria,” she added.
Continuing, the minister said “as we commiserate with you, be consoled that the death of Benjamin and Ayuba is not in vain.
“The whole nation mourns with you and stands by you. On our part, we shall do all that is possible to mitigate whatever hardship their death will bring.”
The solemn ceremony was witnessed by the National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd), Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Chief of Defence Staff, Chiefs of Air Force, Army and Naval Staff and the Inspector General of Police, Force Commander of AFISMA, Maj-General Abdukadir, and Contingent Commander of the Air Force in Niamey, Air Vice Marshal Oguntoyinbo, amongst others.