Pilot Survives As Nigeria Fighter Jet Battling Bandits Crashes

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

 

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has revealed how one of its pilots survived an air crash after an attack by bandits on the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna State.

In a statement signed on Monday by Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, the pilot identified as Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo survived after he successfully ejected from the aircraft.

READ ALSO: Buhari Urges Stronger Synergy With States To Develop Infrastructure

On 18 July 2021, at about 12.45 pm, a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet aircraft, returning from a successful air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna State, came under intense enemy fire which led to its crash in Zamfara State.

“Luckily, the gallant pilot of the aircraft, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, successfully ejected from the aircraft.

“Using his survival instincts, the pilot, who came under intense ground fire from the bandits, was able to evade them and sought refuge in nearby settlements awaiting sunset,” the statement read in part.

Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo survived after he successfully ejected from the aircraft.

 

It added that the pilot 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.

The NAF assured that despite the setback of the crash, it remains committed to fulfilling President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate as well as other constitutional roles assigned to it.

“The willingness, readiness, and tested ability of the NAF remain unshaken and unwavering as it continues to carry out its assigned roles,” the NAF said.

President Buhari had earlier directed the Armed Forces of Nigeria to do all it takes to flush out criminal elements in Katsina, Zamfara, and Kaduna States.

 

SEE THE FULL STATEMENT BY THE NAF BELOW

 

ALPHA JET AIRCRAFT CRASHES IN ZAMFARA STATE, PILOT RESCUED

On 18 July 2021, at about 12.45 pm, a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet aircraft, returning from a successful air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna State, came under intense enemy fire which led to its crash in Zamfara State. Luckily, the gallant pilot of the aircraft, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, successfully ejected from the aircraft. Using his survival instincts, the pilot, who came under intense ground fire from the bandits, was able to evade them and sought refuge in nearby settlements awaiting sunset. Using the cover of darkness and his phone set for navigation, Flight Lieutenant Dairo was able to elude several bandits’ strongholds and maneuvered his way to a Nigerian Army Unit, where he was finally rescued.

It is instructive to note that upon receipt of the news of the crash, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, had directed that all efforts must be emplaced to rescue the pilot. Accordingly, NAF Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms and helicopter gunships provided close air support to NAF Special Forces and Nigerian Army troops who were able to locate the crash site and the pilot’s parachute, while also combing nearby locations for any sign of the pilot. It is gladdening to note that while in hiding, Flight Lieutenant Dairo confirmed that the presence of NAF aircraft within the vicinity of the crash site helped in scaring the bandits who were after him, thus enabling him to find refuge and escape to a safe location.

It is important to also recall that only recently, the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, had directed the Armed Forces of Nigeria to do all it takes to flush out criminal elements in Katsina, Zamfara and the Kaduna States. It is in fulfillment of this directive that the NAF, in conjunction with surface forces, has in the last 2 weeks mounted intensive day and night air interdiction operations against bandits and their hideouts, especially in these 3 states. Through these intensive air operations, hundreds of bandits have been neutralized and several of their hideouts destroyed.

Despite the setback of yesterday’s crash, the NAF remains committed towards fulfilling Mr President’s mandate as well as other constitutional roles assigned to it. The willingness, readiness and tested ability of the NAF remains unshaken and unwavering as it continues to carry out its assigned roles.

Kindly bring the information to the awareness of the general public. Thank you.

Edward Gabkwet

Air Commodore

Director of Public Relations and Information

Nigerian Air Force

19 July 2021

Nigerian Air Force Inducts Three New JF-17 Thunder Multi-Role Aircraft

The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, performed the induction on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

 

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has inducted three newly acquired JF-17 Thunder multi-role aircraft into its inventory.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, performed the induction at an event held on Thursday in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

He stated that the induction ceremony was personally rewarding to him as it marked yet another step in his promise to improve the infrastructure and equipment dispositions of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) and other security agencies for enhanced output, professionalism, and service delivery.

The President added that the induction of the JF-17 aircraft was indicative of how the air force has continued to advance its capability and capacity over the past 57 years while developing competencies to achieve its constitutional mandate of defending the nation’s territorial integrity by air.

He commended the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, for remaining at the forefront of the fight against all enemies of Nigeria.

A photo released by NAF on May 20, 2021, shows the three newly acquired JF-17 Thunder multi-role aircraft inducted into its inventory.

 

President Buhari believes the air force chief has embarked on initiatives towards bridging NAF’s human capacity gaps, as well as exploiting research and development for improved self-reliance.

He went further to commend the resilience and commitment of members of the military and other security agencies for ensuring the sovereignty of Nigeria and its indivisibility.

Similarly, the President appreciated the support of the Government of Pakistan and the efforts of the Pakistani Ambassador to Nigeria, Mohammad Azam, at sustaining the strategic partnership between Nigeria and Pakistan.

He gave an assurance that his administration would continue to work with members of the international community to collectively evolve solutions to the common challenges of terrorism and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

President Buhari used the occasion to salute the gallantry of personnel who have paid the supreme price in the defence of the nation and prayed for the repose of their souls.

NAF Plane Crash: Burial Of Beechcraft King Air 350 Crew Holds In Abuja

 

The burial ceremony of seven Airforce Officers who lost their lives on Sunday has held at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja.

The officers were crew members of the ill-fated Beechcraft King Air 350 that crashed at Bassa village near the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport while on a reconnaissance mission to Niger State.

A statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information of the Nigeria Airforce, Air Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola says the Aircraft reported engine failure shortly after take-off from Abuja and were on their way back to base when the crash occurred.

Present at the ceremony is the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi. Also Present are other Service Chiefs led by the Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Lucky Irabor.

The relatives of the late officers are also present at the cemetery where not an eye is left dry and the nation mourns the death of some of its finest soldiers.

Speaking while the crew was being laid to rest, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice-Marshal Oladayo Amao asked officers and men of the Nigerian Airforce to remain committed to the fight against terrorism in a bid to ensure that the sacrifices of their comrades will not be in vain.

READ ALSO: Safety Of Airspace Remains A Priority, Buhari Mourns Plane Crash Victims

Below are some photos from the ceremony.

 

Chief Of Air Staff Orders Investigation Into Military Plane Crash In Abuja

 

Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao, has ordered an investigation into the military plane crash that led to the death of seven persons. 

The said Air Force plane, a Beechcraft KingAir B350i crashed on Sunday while returning to Abuja Airport after reporting engine failure en-route Minna, the Niger State capital.

Confirming the development, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) spokesman, Air Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola in a brief communique stated that all seven personnel aboard the craft died in the crash.

The NAF spokesman further stated that the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) urged the general public to remain calm and await the outcome of the investigation.

The CAS also commiserated with the families of the deceased.

READ ALSO: 7 Killed As Military Aircraft Crashes In Abuja Airport

 

Air Force Commissions 10 Logistics Trucks In Adamawa To Tackle Insecurity

 

The Nigerian Air Force has commissioned 10 trucks in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, as part of efforts to boost the nation’s fight against insecurity.

According to the NAF Chief of logistics, air vice Marshall Aminu Yakubu, since 2015, the Force has inducted 22 aircraft while 18 additional ones are being expected.

Air Vice Marshall Yakubu stated this during the inauguration of refurbished Nigeria Customs Service Auctioned Trucks at the Nigerian Air Force base in Yola on Saturday, where he represented the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar.

Read Also: #EndSARS: LCC Footage Shows Several Military Trucks Deployed To Lekki Tollgate

NAF Neutralises Bandits In Kaduna

12 Bandits, Killed 15 Victims Rescued In North-West – NAF
A file photo of a military helicopter.

 

The Nigerian Air Force special Operation Thunder Strike, has neutralised several armed bandits at the Kuduru and Kwaimbana forest areas of Kaduna State.

According to a statement by the coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, this was achieved through separate air strikes carried out on the 2nd and 3rd of September 2020 on the basis of credible intelligence reports.

Major General Enenche went on to say that the attack on the Kuduru forest hideout was executed after aerial reconnaissance missions observed significant number of armed bandits around some compounds in a small settlement within the forest.

Consequently, the air component dispatched Nigerian Air Force (NAF) jets and helicopter gunships to attack the location.

“The attack aircraft took turns in strafing the target area leading to the neutralization of several of the bandits as well as damage to their dwellings.

“At the Kwaimbana Forest, where some bandits were seen along with many rustled cattle around some huts and makeshift structures, the NAF jets and helicopter gunships engaged the area in successive passes, taking out some of the bandits,” the statement read in part.

 

Arotile’s Death: Air Force Hands Over Three Suspects To Police

The late Tolulope Arotile. Photo: [email protected] Air Force.

 

The Nigeria Air Force on Friday said it has handed over three suspects involved in the incident that led to the death of flying officer Tolulope Arotile, to the police.

The Air Force revealed this in a statement signed by spokesman Ibikunle Daramola on Friday.

Arotile, who was buried with full military honours on Thursday, had died from head injuries sustained after a car reversed and hit her at the Air Force base in Kaduna.

READ ALSO: Arotile, Nigeria’s First Female Helicopter Combat Pilot, Laid To Rest In Abuja

The handover also took place at the base.

According to the Air Force’s statement, the suspects include “Mr Nehemiah Adejoh, Mr Igbekele Folorunsho and Mr Festus Gbayegun” all of who were former classmates to Ms. Arotile.

According to Group Captain, Hadi Ahmed, as quoted in the statement, the suspects, on July 14, were in a “KIA Serento SUV, with Registration Number AZ 478 MKA (Kaduna)” when the car knocked down Arotile as “she was walking along Air Marshal Ibrahim Alfa Road in NAF Base Kaduna, leading to her eventual death.”

The trio “were on their way to visit the wife of a serving senior officer residing in the Base before the accident occurred,” Ahmed said.

He added that the “NAF would continue to cooperate with the Nigeria Police and provide all necessary support to enable it carry forward the case to its logical conclusion.”

 

PHOTOS: Air Force Wings More Pilots, Restates Commitment To Security

Photos: Winging ceremony of NAF pilots on Tuesday, May 5th, 2020. Sodiq Adelakun/ChannelsTV

 

 

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar has reassured all Nigerians that the Air Force remains fully committed to the successful execution of its constitutional roles and will continue to meet its statutory responsibility of defending the territorial integrity of the nation.

He gave the assurance while speaking in Abuja at the winging ceremony of NAF pilots on Tuesday.

He also explained that the quest for the Nigerian Air Force to fulfil the constitutional mandate of protecting the country’s airspace and ensuring peace and security of the nation has remained the motivating factor driving it to continuously seek ways to regularly improve the operational capacity of the service through training and retraining.

Abubakar added that the current national security situation requires that the force remains highly committed and focused.

The Air Force boss, therefore, urged the newly winged pilots to be willing, able and ready whenever they are called upon in the defence of Nigeria’s sovereignty and interests.

See Photos below.

Air Force Neutralises Bandits, Injures Others In Niger

 

 

Gallant soldiers of the Operation Gama Aiki of Nigeria Air Force have neutralised some bandits at their hideout located about 10km Southeast of Pandogari in Niger State.

In a statement on Wednesday by the Acting Director Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko, the “attack was undertaken on 31 March 2020, sequel to credible human intelligence reports indicating that the bandits had assembled under a group of trees at Kalaibu Village near Pandogari.”

READ ALSO: Troops Kill Nine Bandits, Rescue 12 Victims In Zamfara

According to him, the move is continuation of air operations aimed at flushing out armed bandits from the country.

“A Nigerian Air Force attack helicopter dispatched for an armed reconnaissance mission in the area spotted and engaged the bandits, neutralizing some, while others managed to escape with gunshot wounds,” the statement partly read.

While reiterating the commitment of the Armed Forces to securing Nigeria’s territory, Onyeuko said the offensive will be sustained “against the enemies of our Nation until our mission is accomplished.”

Air Force Says ISWAP Logistics Facilities Destroyed By Airstrikes In Borno

 

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has said that some structures and logistics facilities used by the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) at Bukar Meram on the fringes of the Lake Chad in Borno State have been destroyed by airstrikes.

According to the Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, in a statement on Sunday, intelligence reports indicated that the terrorists had resumed using the settlement to store their logistics supplies.

He added that aircraft dispatched by the ATF provided close air support for ground troops at Gubio and destroyed one gun truck and eliminated some ISWAP fighters at the location.

In continuation of Operation DECISIVE EDGE, the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has successfully knocked out some logistics facilities and other structures belonging to elements of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) at Bukar Meram on the fringes of the Lake Chad in Borno State.

Similarly, aircraft dispatched by the ATF to provide close air support for ground troops at Gubio in the Northwestern part of Borno State also destroyed one gun truck and eliminated some ISWAP fighters at the location.

READ ALSO: PHOTOS: Blast Wreaks Havoc In Lagos Community

 

The Air Force spokesman added that fighter jets and a helicopter gunship scrambled by the ATF to provide close air support to ground troops at Gubio neutralized an ISWAP gun truck and some of their fighters as they attempted to beat a retreat after they were roundly defeated by a combination of air and ground fire.

The Nigerian Air Force, in furtherance of the objective of restoring peace and security in the Northeast and operating in concert with surface forces, will continue to carry out air interdiction missions against the enemies of our Nation.

Buhari Launches Three Combat Helicopters In Abuja

The newly acquired Agusta 109p and Mi 17 1E Helicopters launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, February 6, 2020. PHOTO: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday launched three new acquired combat helicopters at the Eagle Square in Abuja.

The combat helicopters include two Augusta 109 and one Mi-171E combat helicopters.

The ceremony took place during the induction ceremony of the Nigerian Air Force’s at the state capital.

The event also witnessed so many air displays and simulation exercises which focuses on rescue operations and engagement of bandits and others threats to national security.

Under the Buhari administration, NAF has procured and inducted several fighter aircraft, helicopter gunships.

READ ALSO: NAF Commissions Another Combat Aircraft, Inducts Additional Vehicles For Base Defence

 

See photos from the ceremony below…

NAF Commissions Another Combat Aircraft, Inducts Additional Vehicles For Base Defence

 

In its continued efforts to boost its airlift and combat support capability for Armed Forces’ operations across the country, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on the 29th of January 2020, ‘accepted’ back into service another C-130H aircraft, NAF 913, after a successful Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) within the country at the 631 Aircraft Maintenance Depot (631 ACMD), Ikeja, Lagos.

According to its spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, this brings to 2 the number of C-130H aircraft successfully reactivated in-country within the space of one year after NAF 917 was commissioned on 24 June 2019 upon completion of in-country PDM.

Air Commodore Daramola in a statement noted that NAF 917 has since been involved in so many missions both within and outside the country, including the delivery of relief materials to flood victims in Mozambique and Zimbabwe as well as the movement of logistics for ongoing operations nationwide.

Also inducted today were 3 additional Toyota Land Cruiser “Buffalo” vehicles for Base Defence as part of continuing determination to ensure the protection of the NAF critical assets and infrastructure which would enable it to project Air Power effectively. The additional Base Defence vehicles would also provide increased mobility to NAF patrol and rapid response teams in the conduct of their essential duties.

While presiding over the acceptance formalities for the newly reactivated aircraft, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who expressed his delight over the successful completion of the PDM, noted that the added heavy airlift platform would improve the operational efficiency of the NAF.

According to him, it would give the required impetus for a prompt deployment of troops and the provision of logistical support required for operational effectiveness in all theatres of operation.

“This accomplishment is a clear manifestation that our efforts at enhancing self-reliance are gradually producing the desired outcome”, he said.

The CAS noted that some of the benefits of the in-country PDM include tremendous savings of foreign exchange for the nation as well as significant improvements in the NAF human resource capacity and competence, thereby repositioning the NAF for better service delivery.

He expressed optimism that in the near future, the 631 ACMD would have developed capacity to transition into an authorized Regional Maintenance Repair Organization (MRO) for the C-130 aircraft type that would not only conduct PDM and other major maintenance activities on NAF C-130s but also for aircraft of other air forces in the Region.

Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar stated that the modest accomplishments so far achieved by the Service had greatly enhanced the serviceability of the NAF aircraft fleets and boosted its capability to project Air Power within and beyond the shores of the country.

Apart from the commissioned C-130H, the CAS said, the NAF is equally undertaking the local reactivation of 3 Alpha Jets and one Mi-35P helicopter.

“It is also my belief that in a few months ahead, we will also be here to commission the third C-130H, that is, NAF 918”, he noted.

He said the local capacity enhancement efforts are in line with the Federal Government’s policies and aspirations that encourage Ministries, Departments and Agencies to look inwards and evolve innovative solutions to the myriad of challenges the nation is confronted with.

In line with this, he said, the NAF would continue to pursue its capacity building initiatives through the conduct of local PDM of all aircraft types. He stressed that this would undoubtedly enable the Service to fulfil its primary responsibilities as provided in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to meet a broad range of national security imperatives.

While concluding his remarks, the CAS appreciated Messrs Shaheen Foundation of Pakistan for their contribution towards the timely completion of the maintenance activities on the aircraft, while also congratulating all the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and NAF engineers and technicians who participated in the well-executed project.

He urged the NAF engineers and technicians who participated in the project to make the best use of the knowledge acquired during the PDM by effectively applying the same in the conduct of future maintenance on the C-130H fleet.

While commending the Commander of 631 ACMD and his team for a job well done, the CAS noted that the great achievements being recorded by the NAF in various theatres of operation within the country could not have been possible without the continued and tireless support of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari.

He also thanked the National Assembly, especially the Chairmen and Members of the Senate and House Committees on the Air Force for their support in ensuring appropriation of funds for the execution of the project. While further expressing his gratitude to the Federal Government for its support, the CAS said: “we will continue to sustain our efforts towards enhancing the security of our nation which is critical to nation-building”.

In his welcome address, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Logistics Command (LC), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Lawal Alao, stated that the contract for the in-country PDM of NAF 913 was awarded to Messrs Shaheen Foundation in April 2019 and was also aimed at improving in-depth maintenance capacity of NAF engineers and technicians at 631 ACMD.

The AOC, while expressing his profound gratitude to the CAS for giving the Command the support and encouragement needed to push the NAF to greater heights, noted that the commissioning and acceptance ceremony of the C-130H aircraft marked the end of the in-country PDM, which is a calendar inspection conducted at 4-year intervals or after every 4,000 flying hours.

Earlier, while giving highlights of the PDM project, the Commander 631 ACMD, AVM Moses Onilede, stated that, apart from the excellent, cost-effective and timely execution of the job, the arrangement with Shaheen Foundation and PAF (SF-PAF) included the conduct of structured in-class and On-the-Job Training (OJT) to build the capacity of 19 NAF technicians, whilst refreshing their knowledge on Airframe, Avionics/Electrical and Power Plant.

He added that 3 NAF personnel were also trained in de-painting, chemical mixtures and painting. Furthermore, he disclosed that there were other value additions which included the provision of some specialized ground support equipment fabricated by the SF-PAF Team during the PDM as well as the reactivation of unserviceable Hangar infrastructure, some of which had not been in use since the 1970s.

The highlight of the colourful ceremony was the commissioning and inspection of NAF 913. The event also featured the award of certificates to the NAF technicians trained during the PDM as well as a brief hand over/take over ceremony, with the signing of the Aircraft Documentation for NAF 913 by the Shaheen Foundation representative and Chief of Aircraft Engineering Headquarters (HQ) NAF, AVM Musibau Olatunji, before handover of the Document to the CAS.

As part of the ceremony, the CAS also inspected the fabricated ground support equipment and inducted 3 new ProForce Base Defence Toyota Land Cruiser “Buffalo” vehicles.

Other dignitaries in attendance at the ceremony were Branch Chiefs from HQ NAF, the General Officer Commanding 81 Division, Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, AOC Mobility Command, Deputy Commandant Armed Forces Resettlement Centre as well as Commanders and senior officers from Units in Lagos area.