MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
Authorities of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) have vowed to bring terrorists in Nigeria to their knees in spite of the claim in the media by a group of bandits taking responsibility for the recent crash of NAF in Niger State in which about 13 personnel reportedly lost their lives.
In a statement on Wednesday, NAF spokesman Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said “the attention of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has been drawn to a video circulating on social media platforms allegedly depicting the wreckage of the crashed MI-171 helicopter with bodies of victims at Chukuba Village in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.
“While it is not in the character of the NAF to respond to such claims, particularly one peddled by terrorists, concerns expressed by well-meaning Nigerians on the need to address the propaganda becomes imperative
“Like all military organizations involved in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations, incidences of fatalities, mishaps and crashes are sometimes inevitable. For the NAF, the last eight years has seen an increased level of air operations in efforts at checkmating the nefarious activities of terrorists and criminal elements in the country.
“With heightened levels of air operations, occasioned by an enhanced fleet, the likelihood of air mishaps and accidents at times become unavoidable and inevitable due to various reasons. Indeed, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar said this much when he hosted Governor Umaru Bago of Niger State, on Tuesday15 August 2023, at his office where he noted that the rates of aircraft accidents/incidences are directly proportional to the heightened level of air operations.
“While the NAF regrets such unfortunate incidents, especially as they involve the loss of lives of our colleagues, the Service will never shy away from unravelling the probable cause of the crash with a view to drawing lessons.
“For those aiding and abetting the propaganda tendencies of terrorists, deliberately or inadvertently, by spreading the videos of the alleged crash site with gory
pictures of dead military personnel, the need to rethink the consequences of their actions on the morale of troops, families of deceased personnel as well as on Nigeria’s national security is imperative.
“For the NAF and indeed the entire members of the Armed Forces, our resolve and determination to bring the current security
situation in Niger State and indeed all troubled spots in the country remains unshaken. Infact, if anything, we are
determined more than ever before, to take on the enemy frontally until they are brought to their knees.”