*President consoles Ali’s dad on phone, praises fallen soldiers
By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed a high powered delegation to be led by the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, to represent him at the funeral of late Col. Abu Ali and others on Monday.
Other members of the delegation include the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello and the Minister of State Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa Bwari.
In a condolence message, Buhari said that the sacrifices of fallen officers and men in the war against terrorism in Nigeria will never be in vain.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, said the president was reacting to the death of Col. Abu Ali and others, who died while fighting Boko Haram insurgents, on Friday, in Borno.
President Buhari said the memories of the affected officers would be “eternally etched in the hearts and minds of fellow citizens for whose sake they laid down their lives”.
The President, who described late Ali as one of Nigeria’s finest and bravest soldiers in recent history, said he was rudely shocked by the news of the officer’s death along with other gallant soldiers during an encounter with the Boko Haram bandits in Borno.
“A courageous commander does not only give orders, but also joins his men to fight the battle, no matter the risks or the obvious danger.
“Ali was an extraordinary officer who inspired respect and adoration among those he commanded.
“One of the greatest attributes of a war hero is the ability to help your troops overcome fear in the face of danger, he added.
President Buhari stated that the late Colonel and his other fallen colleagues had brought glory to the army and the country for laying down their lives for the sake of others.
In his condolence message to the families of the victims and the Nigerian Army, the President also noted that their heroic sacrifices were “so immeasurable that no words can do justice to their patriotism and remarkable courage.”
President Buhari, who personally called late Col. Ali’s father, Brig.-Gen. Abu Ali (Ryder) to console the family , reassured them that his death and those of his colleagues in battle would never be in vain.
“He was a gallant soldier, never to be forgotten. He has brought a good name to the family,’’ the President said.
The President called on members of the armed forces not to let the tragic incident to dampen their morale and spirit, adding that “under no circumstances should the Boko Haram terrorists be allowed to destroy the will of our troops.
“Evil should not be given any chance to defeat good and humanity,
“Members of our armed forces should remain formidably united in the war against terrorism.’’