Nigerian Air Force Boosts Manpower With Additional 1,549 Personnel

File photo of Nigeria Air Force helicopter.

 

The Nigerian Air Force has graduated another set of 1,549 recruits of the Basic Military Training Course and 49 officers as part of efforts to boost the manpower needs of the military in the fight against insurgency.

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, other service Chiefs, National Assembly members and the representative of the Kaduna State Government attended the passing out parade of the recruits which held at the Nigerian Air Force Base in Kaduna State at the weekend.

Addressing the new recruits and officers, General Irabor asked them not to see their enlistment into the military profession as just another job, but one that requires absolute discipline, loyalty, hard work, and all seriousness, especially at this crucial time when the Nation is battling the challenges of insecurity on several fronts.

“As such, you are expected to secure the lives and properties of the Nigerian people and ensure that they can live in peace and pursue their legitimate aspirations without fear. Such a noble service demands extraordinary courage, commitment, and patriotism, and Nigeria will continue to count on you and demand such qualities from you.

‘”I, therefore, encourage the graduands, and indeed all personnel, to ensure optimal utilisation of resources while subordinating their interests to those of the Service and the Nation. Above all, you must exhibit the core values of Integrity, service before self and excellence for which the Nigerian Air Force is known,” General Irabor said.

Military Officers Feared Dead As Trainer Aircraft Crashes In Kaduna

A file photo of NAF personnel with an Alpha-jet of the Nigerian Air Force. Photo: [email protected]

 

An Air Force trainer Aircraft has reportedly crashed in Kaduna state, with the two pilots on board feared dead.

Although the Airforce authorities are yet to confirm the incident, a security source told Channels Television that the trainer Aircraft crashed at the Air Force training base in Kaduna during a training session on Tuesday.

The aircraft reportedly belonged to the 401 flying training school.

READ ALSO: NAF Special Forces Rescue 26 Kidnap Victims In Kaduna

The 401 flying training school of the Nigerian Airforce has continued to fulfil its statutory role of providing effective flying training for almost 40 years as evidenced by the quality of its graduands over the years.

However, This is not the first time that an aircraft belonging to the Nigerian Airforce is involved in such mishap either within or outside its training facilities.

In 2018, a pilot sustained injuries after a jet belonging to the Nigerian Air Force was involved in a mishap in Kaduna state .

The student pilot was said to have forced-landed the aircraft – a Diamond 40 trainer – on the outskirts of Kaduna while on a solo mission as part of flying training at the 401 Flying Training School, Kaduna.

Diamond 40 is a one-person seater training aircraft used for the training of air force personnel.

Air craft crashes are not uncommon in Nigeria’s military history.

In May 2021, a NAF aircraft crashed in Kaduna killing the then Chief of Army Staff, Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 other military officers.

Also in March 2021, a military jet crashed in Sambisa forest with two crew members onboard.

The army last month said it uncovered the wreckage of the crashed Alpha Jet during a clearance operation in Sambisa forest.

NAF Special Forces Rescue 26 Kidnap Victims In Kaduna

Some of the rescued victims

 

Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Special Forces (SF) on Wednesday rescued 26 kidnapped victims while on a fighting patrol along Birnin Gwari-Kaduna Road.

NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet in a statement, said that the rescue operation occurred when the SF came across five abandoned vehicles with their doors ajar near Anguwar Yako, an indication of forced removal or evacuation and likely kidnap scene.

Commodore Gabkwet stated that acting on instincts, the SF began exploiting the general scene of the abduction and extended for about three kilometres radius well into the bushes while clearing the general area. Upon sighting the SF, about 3 kidnapped escapees suddenly came out from the bushes.

 

 

Further search by the SF led to the discovery of four different groups of victims hiding in the bushes. After a thorough search further into the hinterland, a total of 26 victims were rescued.

On interrogation, the victims who were traveling from Birnin Gwari to various locations including Kaduna, Minna and Kano, revealed that while enroute, a large number of bandits in three groups suddenly appeared from the bushes from 3 different directions along the route and surrounded their vehicles.

However, on sighting the SF, the kidnappers fled into the bushes with a handful of the victims while the other majority took cover and hid in the bushes until they sighted the SF.

The NAF SF have extended their operations within the area with the hope of rescuing the remaining kidnapped victims while those rescued have since been moved to the 461 NAF Hospital Kaduna for thorough medical examination.

NAF Reviews Training Curricula For Personnel To Boost Operations

 

The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, has stated that for personnel of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to be combat-ready and operate at optimum level to counter both domestic and foreign threats, the need to review the curriculum of its training institutions and facilities has become expedient.

The CAS stated this at the winging ceremony of some pilots and operators held recently at Headquarters NAF, Abuja, a statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore, Edward Gabkwet announced.

According to Air Marshal Amao, the NAF recently reviewed the curricula of the various schools in the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) to meet expected standards, whilst also conducting instructional training for the instructors to ensure enhanced performance.

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He also revealed that the training curriculum for NAF cadets at the Nigerian Defence Academy has been reviewed and new criteria specified for NAF officers to be eligible for posting to the Academy as instructors.

Also affected are some selected ground and flying schools where the CAS disclosed that, ‘I have authorized the audit of selected institutions in the NAF, including flying schools, by a team of experienced retired senior officers with a view to upgrading the practices and facilities at the institutions to meet international standards and best practices.’

He went further to state that special arrangements have also been made to upgrade operations training facilities to enhance the operational capacity of NAF operators in anticipation of increased tempo of air operations with the recently acquired platforms, while sustaining capacity building programmes for the NAF Regiment in joint efforts for synergy of air-ground integrated operations with sister services.

Overall, these efforts, according to the CAS, are geared towards positioning the institutions and facilities as centres of excellence that would produce pilots, engineers, technicians and other specialists that are well equipped to carry out their constitutional roles more effectively and efficiently.

Air Force Redeploys Senior Officers, Appoints Heads Of Formations

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, says the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) will prioritise the welfare of its personnel to boost their morale in the line of duty. Photo: [email protected]

 

The Nigerian Air Force has redeployed senior officers and appointed new heads of some formations across the country.

NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, announced the new posting via a statement issued on Tuesday.

Gabkwet said the postings were approved by the Chief of Air Staff, Oladayo Amao, to reinvigorate the services for greater performance, enhanced productivity, operational efficiency, and effective service delivery.

Senior officers affected by the new postings include Ayoola Jolasinmi, an air vice-marshal, who was appointed as the Chief of Defence Policy and Plans (CDPP) at Defence Headquarters (DHQ), and Charles Ohwo, an air vice-marshal, who is now the Chief of Policy and Plans (COPP), HQ NAF, Abuja.

READ ALSO: How We Regained Freedom From Notorious Bandit Leader Turji – Victim

Others include former Air Force spokesperson, Ibikunle Daramola who is now the AOC, GTC, Enugu and Abubakar Liman, an Air Vice Marshal who is now the spymaster (Chief of Air Intelligence).

On his part, the Chief of Air Staff, Amao charged the officers to put in their best in order for the force to consolidate on the gains being recorded against all forms of criminality in the country.

The officers are expected to assume duties on or before January 7.

See the full statement issued by the Air Force spokesman below:       

NAF APPOINTS NEW BRANCH CHIEFS, AIR OFFICERS COMMANDING, OTHER SENIOR OFFICERS

  1. Postings and redeployments in the military are routine exercises intended to reinvigorate the Services for greater performance, enhanced productivity, operational efficiency, and effective service delivery. It is in view of the foregoing that the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, has approved the appointment of new Branch Chiefs, Air Officers Commanding (AOCs), Commandants of tri-Service and NAF institutions as well as Unit Commanders. Among the newly appointed Branch Chiefs are Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Ayoola Jolasinmi, erstwhile Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Air Training Command (ATC), Kaduna who is now the Chief of Defence Policy and Plans (CDPP) at Defence Headquarters (DHQ), former Chief of Aircraft Engineering at Headquarters NAF (HQ NAF), AVM Musa Muktar moves to DHQ as Chief of Defence Transformation and Innovation, (CDTI), former AOC Logistics Command (LC), Ikeja, AVM Charles Ohwo is now the Chief of Policy and Plans (COPP), HQ NAF, Abuja, AVM Jackson Yusuf, former AOC Special Operations Command (SOC), Bauchi is now appointed Chief of Training and Operations (CTOP), HQ NAF, while AVM Abubakar Liman heads the Air Intelligence Branch as the Chief of Air Intelligence, HQ NAF. Also appointed are AVM Emmanuel Wonah, former Managing Director NAF Investments Limited (NAFIL) as Chief of Aircraft Engineering (CAcE), HQ NAF, AVM Raimi Salami is now redeployed as the Chief of Communications Information Systems (CCIS) HQ NAF, while AVM Olatokunbo Adesanya has been appointed as Chief of Logistics (CLOG), HQ NAF. Furthermore, AVM Aliyu Bello, erstwhile AOC Mobility Command (MC), Yenagoa is now the Chief of Standards and Evaluation (COSE), HQ NAF, AVM Nelson Calmday is to take over as the Chief of Administration (COA), HQ NAF and AVM Paul Jemitola is now the Air Secretary, HQ NAF.
  2. In the same vein, former Commander 081 Pay and Accounting Group, Ikeja, AVM John Ochomma is now the Chief of Accounts and Budget (CAB), HQ NAF, AVM Idi Lubo, erstwhile AOC Tactical Air Command (TAC) proceeds to Lagos as Commandant Armed Forces Resettlement Centre (AFRC), AVM Anthony Tuwase takes over as the Commandant, Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji while former AOC Ground Training Command (GTC), Enugu, AVM Mohammed Yakubu is the new Commandant of Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), Kaduna just as AVM Sayo Olatunde is now the Commandant Air Force War College (AFWC), Makurdi. The newly appointed AOCs are AVM Abraham Adole, AOC TAC, Makurdi, AVM Tajudeen Yusuf, AOC SOC, Bauchi, AVM Iboro Etukudo, AOC MC, Yenagoa, AVM Nanjul Kumzhi, AOC ATC, Kaduna, while the former Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF, AVM Ibikunle Daramola is now the AOC, GTC, Enugu and AVM Hassan Abubakar who is now the AOC LC, Ikeja. Also appointed are AVM Emmanuel Eze as the Group Managing Director NAF Holding Company, Air Commodore Esen Efanga now the Commander Air Task Force Operation HADIN KAI while Group Captain Dogari Apyeyak is now the Air Component Commander, Operation Thunder Strike.
  3. While congratulating the new appointees, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, charged them to continually task and explore their critical thinking mindsets towards proffering workable solutions and strategies to be deployed against the various security challenges in the Country. This, the CAS noted, is imperative particularly at this period that the NAF, in tandem with sister Services and other security agencies, are consolidating on the gains being recorded against all forms of criminality in the Country. The newly appointed and redeployed senior officers are expected to assume their new offices on or before Friday, 7 January 2022.
  4. Kindly bring this information to the awareness of the general public. Thank you.

Edward Gabkwet

Air Commodore

Director of Public Relations & Information

Nigerian Air Force

4 January 2021

National Security: Chief Of Air Staff Amao Assures Nigerians Of Restoring Peace

A file photo of NAF personnel with an Alpha-jet of the Nigerian Air Force. Photo: [email protected]

 

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao has reassured Nigerians that the Air Force will keep up its efforts to root out insurgents and bandits and all forms of criminal elements until peace is restored in the country.

He gave the assurance during a visit to personnel of the Quick Response Force in Minna, Niger State where he was represented by the Deputy Director Operation Headquarters, Air Commodore Stephen Aneke.

“Twelve student pilots are undergoing basic fighter training at 403 Flying Training School Kano while 12 are undergoing basic transport training at 401 Flying Training School Kaduna. These courses are aimed at maintaining combat readiness by increasing the number of pilots to man our ever-increasing inventory of aircraft,” he said.

READ ALSO: 1999 Politics Has Expired, Young People Are Taking Over – Obaseki

“Let me use this opportunity to once more urge you all not to relent in your efforts. We must sustain the tempo of our operations and continue to fight gallantly until the insurgents, armed bandits, and other criminal elements are completely eliminated and peace is restored to all troubled parts of our dear country.

“This is our professional duty. Let me assure you that your efforts and sacrifice in this regard both individually and collectively are highly appreciated by the nation. Let me also reassure you that on our part, Headquarters Nigerian Air Force will continue to ensure the provision of your requirement for the successful execution of the war.”

Amao commended the unit for its air operations which he says are instrumental in curtailing the activities of the terrorists.

According to the air chief, strategies are ongoing to enable the service adequately project airpower to effectively and efficiently deal with the emerging security threats among others.

FULL LIST: Army, Air Force Promote 177 Senior Officers

File photo of the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retired)

 

The Nigerian Army and Air Force have promoted a total 177 senior officers in recognition of meritorious service to the nation.

In the Army, a total of 41 brigadier generals were promoted to the rank of major general, while 76 colonels were also elevated to the rank of brigadier general.

Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, announced in a statement issued on Wednesday that the promotion is sequel to an approval by the Army Council on December 21.

“The Army Council has on Tuesday the 21st of December 2021, approved the promotion of senior officers to the ranks of Major General and Brigadier General respectively,” the statement read.

“A total of 41 Brigadier Generals were meritoriously promoted to the enviable rank of Major General, while 76 Colonels were also elevated to the rank of Brigadier General.”

READ ALSO: Police Service Commission Promotes Two AIGs, Over 7,000 Others

Those promoted to the rank of Major General include the Director, Directorate of Army Data Processing Lagos, Brigadier General CU Onwunle; Research Fellow/Subject Expert, Indian Sub-Continental at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre Abuja, Brigadier General M Danmadami; Director Military Training Nigerian Defence Academy, Brigadier General OJ Akpor; Brigadier General UT Musa of the Department of Administration Army Headquarters Abuja.

Other beneficiaries include Acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division/ JTF NE Operation Hadin Kai Maiduguri, Borno State Brigadier General AA Eyitayo; Brigadier General V Ebhaleme of Defence Space Administration Abuja, Brigadier General LT Omoniyi of Department of Civil Military Affairs Abuja and Brigadier General NU Muktar Acting Director of Procurement at the Office of the Chief of Army Staff, Army Headquarters Abuja amongst others.

In the Air Force, the 60 senior officers consist of 29 Air Vice Marshals (AVMs) and 31 Air Commodores (Air Cdres) to the next higher ranks in the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

The Air Force Council which approved the promotion also issued the concessional commission of an Air Warrant Officer (AWO) and five Master Warrant Officers (MWO) to the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

Concessional commission is usually reserved for Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCOs) at the twilight of their career years in reward for hard work and in recognition of meritorious service to the nation.

NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said the senior officers promoted to the rank of Air Vice Marshal include Air Cdres Precious Amadi, Nnamdi Ananaba, Abubakar Abdulkadir, Anthony Ndace, Usman Abdullahi, Eneobong Effiom, Iboro Etukudo, Abubakar Abdullahi, Sunday Aneke, Nnaemeka Ilo, Adeniyi Amesinlola, Ebimobo Ebiowe, Micheal Onyebashi, Emmanuel Shobande, Sayo Olatunde, Francis Edosa, Ahmed Shinkafi, Bashiru Mamman and Halim Adebowale. Others are Ahmed Bakari, Framah Batnah, Adeniran Ademuwagun, Lanre Oluwatoyin, Titus Dauda, Olufemi Ogunsina, Paul Masiyer, Nkem Aguiyi, Abidemi Marquis and Oluwafemi Ogunmola.

Those promoted from the rank of Group Captain to Air Commodore are Gp Capts Chukwuedo Illoh, Bamidele Amuda, Samson Adelakun, Hadi Ahmed, Abiodun Oyekunle, Caleb Olayera, Idorenyin Bassey, Philip Kwasau, Mohammed Omar, Ayodele Akinbuwa, Emeng Imoke, Luqman Lawal, Shaibu Buhari and Ehimen Ejodame. Others include Mohammed Lawal, Idowu Ayo, Emmanuel Ola, Ewejide Akintunde, Elisha Bindul, Dogo Gani, Edmond Oluokun, Akeem Adebomehin, George Akinyimika, Mohammed Garba, Oladimeji Almaroof, Gowon Sule, Ifeanyi Azubuike, Hamisu Usman, Adebanjo Adeosun, Sabir Adeyanju and Halima Musa who is the only female officer on the list. The SNCOs granted concessional Commission to the rank of Flight Lieutenant include Air Warrant Officer Adole Abraham, Master Warrant Officers Liman Musa, Akinwale Olayinka, Akpabio Josephine, Nwojiji Okemini and Isa-Kaita Aminu.

On his part, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, congratulated the newly promoted senior officers and SNCOs, urging them to see the elevation as an impetus to re-dedicate themselves towards efficient service delivery.

According to him, the newly promoted senior officers will be decorated with their new ranks at a later date.

This is even as the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya asked all the promoted officers and their families to redouble their effort to justify the confidence reposed in them by the Nigerian Army.

 

Air Force Denies Paying N20m To Bandits For Anti-Aircraft Gun

FILE: The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao

 

The Nigerian Air Force has denied paying N20 million to bandits operating in Jibia, Katsina State in exchange for an anti-aircraft gun seized from the Nigerian Army.

The Wall Street Journal on Sunday reported that the Air Force struck the deal amid plans by President Muhammadu Buhari to visit his home state of Katsina, which has been ravaged by the activities of bandits in the northwest.

But the Director of NAF Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet debunked the report via a statement, noting that the newspaper report was part of a campaign to further the cause of insecurity in Nigeria.

According to the Air Force, the report was orchestrated by elements that see the Force as a threat following a series of successful exploits in operations against criminal gangs.

READ ALSO: Bandits Attack Another Sokoto Village Market

“The report went on to state that the reason behind the payment was to retrieve the anti-aircraft gun which, it alleged, the NAF feared could be used against aircraft operating within Katsina State,” the statement read.

“The NAF wishes to categorically state that there is absolutely no iota of truth in the spurious allegation that was undoubtedly designed to cast aspersions on the good image of the Service.”

 

See the full statement issued by the Air Force below:

NAF DID NOT MAKE ANY PAYMENT TO BANDITS IN EXCHANGE FOR WEAPONS

  1. The attention of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has been drawn to news reports circulating on some media platforms alleging that the NAF, through one of its personnel, paid the sum of N20 Million to armed bandits operating in Jibia Local Government Area (LGA) of Katsina State in exchange for an anti-aircraft gun allegedly seized. The report went on to state that the reason behind the payment was to retrieve the anti-aircraft gun which, it alleged, the NAF feared could be used against aircraft operating within Katsina State.
  2. The NAF wishes to categorically state that there is absolutely no iota of truth in the spurious allegation that was undoubtedly designed to cast aspersions on the good image of the Service. The said report is totally false. It should therefore be taken as fake news and disregarded. Indeed, we ordinarily would not have responded to such baseless and utterly illogical allegation but for the need to set the record straight as well as reaffirm the NAF’s unflinching commitment to decisively dealing with the armed bandits and all other criminal elements in the Country in partnership with other services of the Armed Forces and other security agencies.
  1. For the avoidance of doubt, it must be stated that there is no basis for the NAF to pay bandits or any criminal elements that it has continued to attack and decimate in Katsina State, other parts of the North-West as well as other Theatres of Operation in the Country. Indeed, as recent as 12 October 2021, NAF aircraft conducted 5 missions in the Jibia general area and engaged targets with rockets and cannons at Bala Wuta bandits’ locations in Kadaoji. Similar successes were recorded at Fakai Dutsin Anfare, an area in Jibia LGA known for its high incidences of bandits’ activities. The false reportage, therefore, begs the question as to why the NAF would negotiate for a weapon allegedly seized and still carry out air interdiction missions on the same bandits and their strongholds. The NAF is of the view that this latest false report could be a part of a campaign to further the cause of insecurity in Nigeria by elements who see the NAF as a threat following series of successful exploits in operations against criminal gangs.
  1. Perhaps, this provides an avenue for the NAF to yet again appeal to members of the media, both local and international, as well as social media, to be circumspect in their reportage and endeavour to always verify their facts before going public. The public is enjoined to disregard the falsehood emanating from some sections of the social and mainstream media. The NAF also uses this opportunity to call on citizens to continue to cooperate with security agencies as efforts are ongoing to rid the entire Nation of criminals and their activities.
  1. On our part, the NAF, as a professional and disciplined force, will not in any way be discouraged from carrying out its mandate to rid the entire North-West Nigeria of banditry and other forms of criminality. We remain resolute in performing our function and will continue to work in synergy with other sister Services and security agencies to rid the Country of all criminal elements.
  1. Kindly bring this information to the awareness of the general public.

Edward Gabkwet

Air Commodore

Director of Public Relations and Information

Nigerian Air Force

17 October 2021

 

Over 20 Farmers Feared Dead In Suspected Borno Airstrike

Map of Borno State.

 

No fewer than 20 civilians have died from a supposed airstrike in Dabar Masara, a border town in Monguno Local Government Area of Borno State.

Although military authorities were yet to respond to the incident at the time of filing this report, local sources confirmed the airstrike to Channels Television on Tuesday.

It was gathered that the airstrike occurred on Sunday afternoon when a jet flew over the general area and dropped bombardments in three different locations all within Dabar Masara.

The civilians, mostly farmers, were either on their farms or at the river bank when the tragic event happened.

Dabar Masara is a farming and fishing community located on the Nigerian side of the Lake Chad region in Monguno local government of Borno State.

“In one of the locations attacked, we were told that 10 persons were evacuated and buried that same day,” a source said.

“Maybe they mistook them for Boko Haram for which I won’t blame them, but those were our relatives and they were only out looking for their daily bread because even if they stay at home nobody will give them food.”

Sources claim Boko haram fighters have not attacked locals in a long time as, according to them, they mostly storm the villages to loot food or fish without harming any villagers.

This is, however, not the first time an accidental airstrike by the military will take place in the northeast where the nation has been battling the decade-long insurgency war.

Two weeks ago, more than 10 villagers were killed in a similar airstrike during a pursuit of Boko Haram insurgents in neighbouring Yobe State.

Security sources had said the Air Force launched the airstrike on Buhari village in Yunusari Local Government, north of Yobe from Damaturu, the state capital, while chasing the insurgents into the village.

Yunusari, which shares an international border with the Niger Republic, has an area of 3,790 km2 and a population of 125,821, according to the 2006 census.

A source at Geidam General Hospital told Channels Television that over 20 wounded villagers had been brought to the hospital.

Air Force Makes U-Turn, To Investigate ‘Bombardment’ Of Yobe Community

NAF logo.

 

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says it has commenced an investigation into the ‘bombing’ of a community in Yobe State.

Initial reports on Wednesday suggested that a NAF fighter jet had carried out the bombing which reportedly left several persons killed and many more injured.

The Air Force had earlier denied any involvement in the incident but in a brief statement on Thursday, the force spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said a proper investigation is ongoing.

According to Commodore Gabkwet, the probe is occasioned by the fact that an aircraft from the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai was detailed to respond to suspected terrorists’ activities along the Kamadougou Yobe River line.

He further revealed that following intelligence on the suspicious movements consistent with Boko Haram/ISWAP fighters along the Nigeria/Niger border, “the pilot fired some probing shots”.

The Air Force spokesman emphasized that the area is well known for continuous Boko Haram /ISWAP activities.

Commodore Gabkwet disclosed that NAF’s initial release denying any involvement was based on the first report suggesting that civilians were bombed.

He explained that contrary to what had been reported, “the aircraft detailed for the mission was not carrying bombs” and as such, a board of inquiry has been set up to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.

READ ALSO: Many Feared Dead, Others Injured As Jet Reportedly Bombs Yobe Community

‘Mistaken Target’?

A file photo of Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja on June 29, 2020.

 

The governor of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni, said lives were lost during an air strike on Buhari village, but did not confirm a death toll.

“It could have been an accident or mistaken target, but government will join hands with the security agencies to unravel the root cause of the incident,” his spokesman Mamman Mohammed said in a statement.

In January 2017, at least 112 people were killed when a fighter jet struck a camp housing 40,000 people displaced by jihadist violence in the town of Rann near the border with Cameroon.

The Nigerian military blamed “lack of appropriate marking of the area” for the bombardment in a report it issued six months later.

In July 2019, at least 13 civilians were killed when a Nigerian fighter jet hit Gajiganna village, as it targeted fleeing jihadists who had attacked a nearby base.

‘I Felt Much Relieved’: Buhari Praises Air Force Pilot For Gallantry

Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo with the Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, and other military officials.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has praised gallant pilot of the Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo,  who successfully ejected from an aircraft that came under “intense ground fire from bandits” in Zamfara State.

The pilot had finished a raid against kidnappers when he came under intense fire, the Air Force spokesman, Edward Gabkwet, said in a statement on Monday.

Flight Lieutenant Dairo was able to elude several bandits’ strongholds by using the cover of darkness and his phone set for navigation and maneuvered his way to a Nigerian Army Unit, where he was finally rescued.

Reacting in a statement issued on Tuesday by the presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, President Buhari said he was pained by the news of the air crash.

“I was shocked by the devastating news of the air crash but felt much relieved, following the successful ejection by the pilot and his eventual rescue. May the injured pilot recover at the earliest time,” President Buhari was quoted as saying.

Shehu said President Buhari had been briefed on the successful operation by the nation’s defence forces to rescue the pilot, few days after armed bandits gunned down the military aircraft.

READ ALSO: Pilot Survives As Nigeria Fighter Jet Battling Bandits Crashes

The attack happened on the border of the northern Zamfara and Kaduna states.

Armed gangs – referred to locally as “bandits” – have been blamed for a spate of recent kidnappings in this part of north-western Nigeria.

Students and schoolchildren have been targeted – more than 1,000 have been kidnapped since December. Most have since been freed, reportedly after ransoms were paid, but some have been killed.

In recent days, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the military to do all it takes to flush out criminals in the states of Katsina, Zamfara and Kaduna.

Air Force Trains Personnel To Tackle Incessant Aircraft Crashes

A screengrab taken on June 19, 2021, shows NAF personnel during a training session in Abuja.

 

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has commenced the re-training of personnel in order to ensure the safety of its crew, as part of efforts to tackle the incessant air mishaps in the Nigerian military.

This followed the recent crashes that claimed the lives of at least 18 military officers, including the late immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru.

Addressing reporters on Saturday, NAF Director of Training, Air Commodore Esen Efanga, explained that the Chief of Air Staff approved the training to enable the crew to be up to speed with global best practices and reduce human factors that cause air crashes.

He said, “We have discovered that in the world, most of accidents and incidents have bee attributed to human factors which the human being is the most critical aspect of the aviation sector.

“We have also discovered that most of the accidents do not have to do with the technical abilities of the crew, but rather the interface between the human-and-human, and the human-and-the-aircraft.”

“Because at this point, we are involved in several operations all over the country, this does not come without risks that we have seen in the air force of recent involving incidents and accidents,” Efanga added.

READ ALSO: South East Governors Condemn Violent Secessionist Groups, Back United Nigeria

He disclosed that the training was the first in a series of training that would be carried out in all operational units at various centres all over the country.

The air commodore stated that the crew were trained by very seasoned and experienced resource persons who were certified to impart such knowledge.

“It is the Chief of Air Staff’s intention to establish a culture of safety in the Nigerian Air Force so that while we have increased and enhanced our operations, we take care of this critical aspect of NAF operations,” he said.

On May 21, the nation was thrown into mourning after the death of Lieutenant General Attahiru broke.

Attahiru, who was appointed as the Chief of Army Staff in January, died in a plane crash in Kaduna alongside 10 other personnel of the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Air Force.

The incident was preceded by two other crashes – the first being Beechcraft KingAir B350i which crashed at Bassa village in Abuja while en route to Minna, killing seven NAF personnel in the process.

Personnel on board the plane had reported an engine failure and were on their way back to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport before the aircraft crashed.

About six weeks after the crash, a NAF Alpha Jet aircraft went missing while on an operation in Borno State and was found to have crashed days later.

The aircraft lost contact with radar on March 31 while on an interdiction mission in support of ground troops fighting insurgency in the state.