Air Force Helicopter Crashes In Borno

HelicopterA Nigerian Air Force MI-35 Helicopter on Monday noon, crashed at a location South of Bama, Borno State.

A statement by the Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade, explained that the plane had been on a training mission but crashed due to technical fault.

“Investigation has commenced to unravel the circumstances that led to the accident,” he said, and quickly added that “the crash is not as a result of any enemy action.”

“Further details on the crash will be made known as soon as the investigation progresses”, he added.

Nigeria Air Force Develops Airstrip In Bayelsa

The chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party’s national reconciliation committee, Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State
Governor Seriake Dickson says the airstrip will fast track development in Bayelsa State

The Nigerian Air Force has approved the development of an airstrip in Bayelsa State to fast tract development in the state and the region.

During a meeting with the Air Officer Commanding Mobility Command, Air Vice Marshal Samuel Abosede and the Flag Officer Commanding Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Peter Agba, the state governor, Seriake Dickson, described the approval of the airstrip in the state as a project that would fast track development and pledged the support of the state. He said the state was military friendly.

“No meaningful development can be achieved in an environment without lasting peace. The investment in the Nigerian Military is a worthwhile investment that will be rewarding to generations yet unborn,” he said.

Governor Dickson, accordingly, announced the donation of a piece of land to the Mobility Command, as well as the Nigerian Navy, so as to enhance the operations of the airstrip.

He further said that the land approved for the Central Naval Command would also be used for the construction of its permanent site, research institute and other social amenities such as hospitals and schools.

Stating his reasons for the visit, Air Vice Marshal Abosede said he and his men were at Creek Haven to intimate the Governor of the progress they have been making in the state and various ways the Nigerian Air Force would partner with Bayelsa State to fast track development.

FG Approves Acquisitions of Fighter Jets, Helicopters- CAS

Fighter jetsThe Federal Government of Nigeria has approved the acquisition of new fighter aircraft and helicopters for the Nigerian Air Force as well as the upgrade of some of the existing platforms to enable the service perform it roles.

The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, made the disclosure during a media briefing on the occasion of Nigerian Air Force 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Air Force Headquarters Abuja.

Amosu, who commended President Goodluck Jonathan for living up to his full responsibility of ensuring that necessary resources needed to sustain the NAF are always available, also gave the assurance that the military would stabilise the country from the current security challenges.

Responding to current state of insecurity in the north east, Amosu said that: “We must stablise the North-East and we must ensure that elections take place, democracy is something vital to our nation and we are defenders of democracy. So, everything that we need to do, any kind of sacrifice that is in place to ensure that security is ensured, we have to do it”.

Amosu noted that one of the challenges the military was facing in the North-East was the lack of information by citizens, asking for their cooperation in the fight against the insurgency.

According to him, the war against insurgency is a collective responsibility of all Nigerians.

The Chief of Air Staff said that “with necessary information, perhaps the North-East would have been stabilised by now”.

“Once we get information, you will see the changes that will take place.’’

Amosu noted that the Air Force had earlier scheduled to hold the 50th Anniversary alongside the Bi-annual Air Expo, but had to postpone it.

He said the expo was postponed because of the security challenges and the role of the Air Force in the fight against the insurgency.

“We are not cancelling the expo but we are postponing it and as long as election will take place, the expo will take place, we are putting it toward the end of the year.

“In order to tackle headlong the insurgency challenges and stabilise the North-East without reducing our efforts, we sincerely regret any inconveniences this may cause our friends and partners.

“A new date will be announced in due course as the sovereignty and security of our nation is paramount,’’ the CAS said.

Amosu said that the 50th Anniversary of the Air Force was coming on the heels of national Centenary celebrations, adding that 50 years of loyal and dedicated service to the nation was not a small feat.

He said the Air Force had continued to play a critical role in ensuring the security and inviolability of Nigeria’s airspace.

Amosu said that the activities to mark the golden jubilee, included Jumat prayers and church service scheduled to hold on April 11 and April 13, respectively in all Air Force bases.

He said that a civil-military outreach to the public by Air Force medical personnel and the Nigerian Air Force officers Wives Association would be held on April 14.

Amosu said that the event would be rounded up with an anniversary dinner, adding that key individuals would be honoured and decorated with NAF 50th anniversary commemorative brooches.





Gunmen Attack Bama Barracks, Jonathan, Service Chiefs Meet

Gunmen have attacked a military barrack in Bama in Borno State, North Eastern Nigeria, prompting an emergency meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan, Service Chiefs and the Inspector General of Police.   

The gunmen, suspected to be members of Boko Haram, entered through Banki town from a cell located across Nigeria’s border with Cameroon and attacked the barrack using rocket propelling guns.

There were unconfirmed reports that some civilians, including women and children were killed in the attack that occurred in the early hours of Friday.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade, confirmed the incident but said that armed troops from the Nigerian Military repelled the attack.

He did not disclose if there were any casualties.

President Jonathan had been scheduled to preside over the decoration of 48 newly promoted Major-Generals in the Army, Navy and Air Force but went into a meeting with the Service Chiefs which was also attended by the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Abubakar, at the Command Officers’ Mess, Asokoro Abuja.

“The nation is going through trying times and there is the need for all hands to be on deck to ensure the protection of lives and property in the country,” the president said.

He urged the newly promoted officers to go extra mile to justify their new positions and help save the reputation of the country.

Security Forces Kill 8 Terrorists In Borno

A renewed clash between members of the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist group and security forces claimed the lives of terrorists, military authority said in Maiduguri.

A statement by the spokesman of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri the Borno state capital, Colonel Mohammed Dole said that the clash which lasted for 2 hours occurred along Maiduguri-Bama-Gwoza road of the state.

The statement also disclosed that 3 vehicles and 3 AK-47 rifles were burnt in the process while scores of the insurgents fled with various degrees of injuries.

According to the statement, due to increased offensive operations by ground and air against the terrorists, the situation has forced the terrorists to embark on forceful recruitment of youths and abduction of women from vulnerable villages into their fold.

The statement also said that security forces are on their trail to ensure safe release of those forcefully recruited or captured into the terrorist group.

It was also revealed that air bombardment of the insurgents’ hideouts in Mainok and Mada general areas of Kaga and Konduga local government areas of the state by the Nigerian Air Force also claimed the lives of some Boko Haram terrorists.

The terrorists according to the statement were seen conducting funeral for their dead members around Mudube village.

Colonel Dole  appreciated the continuous support and cooperation given to the security forces by the public and called for its sustenance. He also assured that security forces will continue to launch attack on the terrorists wherever they are.

Air Force Upgrades Research And Development For Fleet

The Chief of Air Force, Standards and Evaluation, Air Vice Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, has declared that the Nigerian Air Force has achieved a reduction of cost in the management of its fleet.

Brandishing some of the innovations by the Air Force, he told journalists that the Air Force could now also ensure that its ‘fleet is constantly deployed in support of other security agencies in maintaining security in the country’.

Some of the innovations include the hydraulic accumulators for two of its helicopters which hitherto cost 6,000 Dollars to procure each piece. However, in collaboration with tertiary institutions and research institutions in the country, the same product is now produced at the cost of 10,000 Naira (about $62.5).

Other innovations include mobile GPU systems for powering aircrafts and helicopters while on assignment.

The Air Force said it would continue to improve on its research and development such that the technologies and innovations could be exported to other African countries and reduce reliance on more developed nations.

Ahmed Takes Delivery Of Two Aircrafts

The Kwara state governor, Abdulfattah Ahmed, has taken delivery of additional two aircrafts in order to improve the training of pilots at the Ilorin international aviation college, and has also assured of his determination to make the institution one of the best in the world.

The college which was conceived by the previous government of Mr Bukola Saraki presently boasts of about 30 students while the Nigerian Air Force has indicated interest in the college to train its personnel.

The idea for the establishment of the aviation college was conceived and implemented by the Bukola Saraki led administration while the Abdulfattah led administration flagged off the resumption of academic and admitted the first set of twelve students eleven months ago.

As a result of the expansion and influx of the students due to the quality of training from the college, the state governor in one of his monthly programme tagged ‘Governor Explains’ announced the  plan of government to procure more aircrafts as the present five prove inadequate.

Four months after the announcement, the state government has now taken delivery of additional two single engine aircrafts which have been duly registered and certified by the relevant authorities in the country.

At the Ilorin international Airport tarmac, the governor and some of his aides expressed joy as the two aircrafts landed at precisely 11:30am.

Governor Ahmed announced that 12 additional aircrafts are being expected for the college with the support of the federal government adding that about 25 air force officers are currently undergoing training at the college.

The head of training at the college Captain Abdulkareem Abdulmuhmeen said the aircrafts have been duly registered by the Nigerian Civil Aviation while the state commissioner for works, Amuda Kannike announced that the first set of students will soon graduate with the college producing the first youngest pilot in the country at the age of twenty one.

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.