Nigeria Sends More Troops To Mali

The Defence Headquarters has increased the number of Nigerian troops to the African-led International support mission to Mali.
In a press release signed by the Director Defence Information, Muhammed Yerima, a total of 724 troops, made up of 300 Nigerian Air Force personnel and 424 Army personnel have been deployed .

Also deployed are heavy weapons, ammunitions, vehicles and equipment.

The Nigerian air force assets in the operation include two alpha jets and one MI35 which will provide interdiction and close air support to ground troops from their based in Niamey, Niger republic.

He assured Nigerians that the defence headquarters will continue to provide information on the operation as event unfolds.

Nigeria Confirms Deployment Of 500 Officers To Mali

The Defence Headquarters has debunked claims that there are only 138 soldiers of Nigerian origin in the on-going peace enforcement operation by the Africa-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA).

The Director of Defence Information, Colonel Muhammed Yerima, in a statement on Thursday, affirmed that there are currently 500 officers and men of the Nigerian armed forces deployed to the AFISMA operation in Mali.

According to him “currently, there is company strength of 138 men (all ranks) stationed in the city of Banamba, Mali.”

He further explained that “while the AFISMA headquarters in Bamako is manned by 17 Nigerian personnel, 24 personnel are also stationed at the transit camp”, adding that a signal squadron of 61 personnel have also been deployed.

Colonel Yermia also stated that officers of the Nigerian Air Force which is stationed in Niamey, Niger Republic, has a total strength of 300 personnel.

He assured Nigerians that the remaining troops and equipment will be deployed to Mali in due course and that a contingent of 140 Nigeria police personnel who are already on standby, are also expected to be deployed soon.


Dana Air Crash: Ex-Air Force Captain blames casualty on poor emergency plan

A retired Group Captain of the Nigerian Air force, Mr Oladipo Ojikutu, has faulted the nation’s emergency plan on air crashes.

Group Captain Ojikutu testified on Tuesday before a Lagos State Coroner’s inquest into the 3rd of June Dana Air Crash which crashed into a building in densely populated Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos, claimed the lives of all the 153 persons on board and some other people on ground.

Mr Ojikutu told the Coroner, Magistrate Komolafe Oyetade, that an aircraft emergency was a local emergency and not a national one.

He explained that there was a need to empower all local governments to respond to air crash emergencies.

The Captain said that virtually all the emergency units that responded to the Dana Air Crash were clueless about how to put out an airplane fire.

“We don’t fight aircraft fire with water, but from the video footages of that day, I noticed they were using water and that didn’t help a bit,” he said.

He said a substance called foam chemical was supposed to be used.

The witness also testified that Nigerian Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) does not have sufficient manpower, adding that the last time the agency trained its staff was over 15years ago.

The Captain, who has 26 years’ experience as an Air Traffic Controller, said from the transcripts of the conversation between the Control Tower and the pilot of the ill-fated plane, there were gaps between what transpired.

He told the Coroner that the court was only given 13minutes excerpt of what was supposed to be about 44mins of conversation between the tower and the pilot.

He added that the Air Traffic Controller on duty did not respond immediately he got a distress call from the pilot and when he ought to have taken charge of the emergency response, he handed over to a subordinate.


Nigerian Air Force to mark 48th anniversary

The Nigerian Air Force is to host an air expo to mark the 48th anniversary of the Air force in Nigeria.

According to the chairman of the organizing committee, Air Commodore Rufus Ojuawo, the event which has the theme “The Effective Deployment of Air Power in Nation Building” is a reflection of the new thinking of the federal government to integrate the armed forces in the development of the country.

Commodore Ojuawo added that the expo will boost foreign direct investments in the Nigerian aviation sector.

About thirty companies and Air force officials from around the world are expected at the event.