Only recently, officials of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) inspected facilities at the Gombe International Airport and certified it for the airlift of Muslim pilgrims in the State to Saudi Arabia, in June.
According to him, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is building an Air Force base on the airport premises while additional facilities are expected to enhance management and business activities.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has neutralised a terrorist leader Alhaji Shanono following an operation in Kaduna State.
NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Information Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said this in a statement issued on Wednesday after the Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Oladayo Amao’s visit to the State.
“Indeed, following receipt of intelligence on 9 August 2022 that a well-known terrorists’ kingpin, Alhaji Shanono, had scheduled a meeting with his foot soldiers at Ukambo, a village about 131 km from Kaduna, the Air Component of Operation Whirl Punch dispatched aircraft for interdiction mission at the location,” the statement added.
“Overhead the location, terrorists were sighted under clusters of trees at the foot of Ukambo high ground and after ensuring the absence of civilian settlements within the location, the crew received the authorization to strike.
“Feedback from local sources disclosed that over 30 rifles and 20 motorbikes were destroyed while about 18 terrorists, including Alhaji Shanono, were neutralized while others sustained various degrees of injuries. Sources also revealed that not less than 26 kidnapped victims earlier held by the terrorists were released as a result of the airstrike.”
In other strikes in the northeast region, NAF said “one of such operations was conducted on 6 August 2022 at Gazuwa, about 1.2 kilometers to Gargash, after intelligence revealed that infighting for relevance and supremacy was underway between terrorists of the Shekau faction and terrorists aligned to Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP). The state of confusion and disorder among the two terrorist factions thus presented an opportunity for a surprise strike by NAF pilots which was carried out using 2 aircraft types.
“It should be noted that though the map coordinates led the pilots to the exact site of the infighting, the location also had an ISWAP flag hoisted on the structure and three solar panels on the rooftop.
“Intelligence received and corroborated by local sources revealed the strike was a success as the terrorists did not anticipate it with several eliminated and others injured.”
The NAF spokesman quoted the Chief of Air Staff as calling on the commanders to stay focused.
“We can’t afford to let down our guards,” he told them.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, has set aside the judgment of a Federal High Court, Abuja which discharged and acquitted a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Umar, of a money laundering charge to the tune of N66 million.
In a unanimous judgment, the three-man panel of Justices led by Justice Elfrieda Williams–Dawodu, upturned the judgment of the Federal High Court and ordered that the defendant continue with his defence on counts 1,2,3,5 and 6
The former Air Chief was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on one count bordering on money laundering allegedly stolen from the account of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) during his tenure between 2010 and 2012, to the tune of sixty- six million Naira.
In his Judgement, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court ruled that the prosecution failed to provide any evidence that Umar gave the instruction for the transfer of the said funds for the renovation of his private property in Abuja.
He had dismissed six out of the seven charges filed against Umar by the EFCC following a no-case submission.
In his view, it would be dangerous to speculate that Umar must be aware of every financial transaction from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force.
Dissatisfied with Umar’s acquittal, the EFCC appealed the judgment, asking the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court.
President Muhammadu Buhari has lauded the Nigerian Air Force for living up to its constitutional responsibilities of securing the nation, and in the process, justifying the investments of the government of the day in the force.
The President stated this on Monday while speaking at the ceremonial parade to commemorate its 58th anniversary in Kano.
He said, “The Nigerian Air Force has been able to meet its constitutional responsibilities thereby justifying the Government’s enormous support in the last 7 years. I, therefore, congratulate the Chief of the Air Staff, officers and airmen/airwomen as well as civilian staff of the Nigerian Air Force on this occasion of the 58th Anniversary”.
The President noted that the Air Force had transformed into a formidable entity, ready to confront immediate and future challenges.
“It gives me great pleasure to be here to felicitate with you on the Nigerian Air Force 58th Anniversary Celebration. This is particularly because the Nigerian Air Force has over these 58 years transformed into a formidable and resilient air force that is positioned to effectively tackle both contemporary and future security challenges,” he said.
“This adaptability has thus enabled the Service to respond effectively to our dynamic national security challenges.”
According to Buhari, “On the assumption of office in 2005, he “promised to equip and re-professionalize our armed forces to perform their constitutional responsibilities more effectively,” adding that “we have therefore demonstrated the required political will and leadership as well as committed resources towards capacity building and re-professionalizing of the armed forces.”
“Today, I can say confidentially that the armed forces have indeed witnessed tremendous improvement in the past seven years. In particular, the provision of modern equipment and personnel motivation through enhanced welfare are also ongoing,” the president mentioned.
“The President noted that “the provision of modern equipment and personnel motivation” like the Super Tucanos and the Augusta helicopter gunships among others, had greatly helped turn the tide in the fight against terrorists and other non-state actors, and sustained the Nigerian Air Force. He assured that the administration will continue to provide more platforms to modernise the Nigerian armed forces:
“To this end, we have approved the procurement of more platforms such as the Beechcraft, some modern helicopter gunships and UAVs for the Nigerian Air Force to enable it to man our airspace more effectively. Rest assured that as a Government, we are willing to do even more to ensure the provision of the requisite support and encouragement to overcome various security challenges.”
President Buhari commended the Honourable Minister of Defence, the Chief of the Defence Staff, the Service Chiefs as well as the leadership of the security agencies for doing their jobs well, charging them to “remain committed, steadfast and resolute as we forge ahead to achieving a secure, peaceful and more prosperous Nigeria.”
He also lauded the Chief of the Air Staff, officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the air force for the good work they are doing to support the Government’s defence and security policies as well as the high level of discipline, loyalty to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and support of democratic values.
He urged them to remain resolute and committed to their duty. His government, he said, invested much in equipping NAF, which has yielded results, and would do even more.
“In furtherance of our drive to continue to modernise the Armed Forces, we would continue to do more to support the Air Force,” Buhari told the gathering.
“To this end, we have approved the procurement of more platforms such as the Beechcraft, some modern helicopter gunships, and UAV for the Nigerian Air Force to enable it to man our airspace more effectively.
“Rest assured that in our government, we are willing to do even more to ensure the provision of the requisite support and the encouragement to overcome various security challenges.”
The President promised to enhance the welfare of NAF personnel and expressed confidence that Nigeria’s security challenges would soon be a thing of the past.
Monday’s event was attended by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, service chiefs, the leadership of the National Assembly, and traditional rulers among others.
Earlier, the President had visited the Emir of Kano Aminu Ado Bayero to commiserate with him over the explosion that rocked the state last week. He was accompanied by Governor Ganduje.
A community leader in Niger State has accused the Nigerian Air Force of killing six children and bombing houses in Kurebe, Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.
According to the spokesperson of the Coalition of Shiroro Associations (COSA), Salis Sabo, the strikes occurred on April 13.
The Nigerian Air Force is yet to react to the allegation.
“Six children were bombed to pieces by explosion from fighter jet belonging to Nigerian Air Force in Kurebe, Shiroro Local Government of Niger State. The incident happened on Wednesday the 13th of April, 2020, in the morning when the children were coming back to fetch water from a motorized borehole within Kurebe community,” the statement said.
“A man who lost two of his daughters and two grand daughters in the incident said; there was no single bandit within the village at the time the aircraft bombarded the innocent children. He added that the terrorists camps are well known. He said the terrorists around the community are of two groups, with two different camps. One links up with the community through Unguwan Zomo, the other through Kwantan Yashi area. Therefore, they do not understand why fighter jet would be targeting the community where civilians live.
“The person whose house was destroyed narrated their ordeal. He maintained that they are living a life of denial, they are at the mercy of the terrorists as the terrorists come into the community at will, loot their property, raped their daughters, wives and even their mothers. They forced then to live in the village as anyone who attempts to leave will incur the wrath of the terrorists. He added that there was no presence of any security personnel in the area.
“The two other children who lost their lives in the incidents have for long lost their parents. One of them is a daughter to late Malam Isah Kurebe and the other is a daughter to late Malam Adamu Kurebe, who was killed by the terrorists two years ago. The innocent child he left over, has now been taken away by similar fate. This is the second time this type of incident is happening.
“While we continue to vent, spleen, raise dust and even bring down the roof when occasion calls for that, to get the Government do what it has sworn to do. However, the continued pampering of these nefarious vermin who inflict terror straight from gutter will leave us with so much to be inferred.”
“There is no reward big enough to pay for the services of these young and dedicated professional airmen in the service of their country.
“My deepest sympathies to the Chief of Air Staff and the families of the deceased.
“There must be more safety measures put in place to forestall tragic incidents of this kind.
“I welcome the decision by the NAF authorities to investigate this accident, but I also call on them to publish and implement the recommendations of the reports of past investigations into air accidents, with a view to preventing future tragedies and bringing closure to the families and friends of the deceased.”
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has confirmed the death of two officers in the crash involving one of its trainer aircraft in Kaduna State.
NAF Director of Public Relation and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, in a statement on Wednesday, identified the officers as Flight Lieutenant Abubakar Alkali and Flight Lieutenant Elijah Karatu.
He revealed that the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, visited Kaduna a day after the aircraft crashed, killing the officers onboard at the NAF Base in Kaduna.
Gabkwet explained that the air force chief was in Kaduna to commiserate with families, friends, and colleagues of the two pilots.
Amao, according to the NAF spokesman, promised that the air force would ensure it thoroughly investigates the cause of the crash of the Super Mushshak trainer aircraft.
Upon receiving the sad news of the crash on Tuesday, the air marshal constituted an Accident Investigation Board to determine the immediate and remote causes of the crash.
While in Kaduna, he assured the officers, airmen, and airwomen of 401 Flying Training School that all measures would be emplaced to avert a similar occurrence in the future.
Amao, however, reminded them of the need to remain steadfast and focus on their assigned roles and responsibilities in view of the onerous task before the NAF and other security agencies to rid the North West and the entire nation of all criminal elements.
“The unfortunate incident of yesterday’s trainer aircraft crash is yet again a tragic reminder of the perilous nature of the military flying profession as well as the risks NAF pilots continually take, daily, to secure Nigeria’s territorial integrity,” Gabkwet said.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.