The Nigerian Air Force has insisted that it will not be deterred by propaganda from terrorists following the reports that terrorists shot down a plane belonging to the Nigerian Air Force.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet in a statement on Wednesday.
The NAF spokesperson 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. ”
He added that “Like all military organizations involved in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations, incidences of fatalities, mishaps and crashes are sometimes inevitable.”
“For the NAF, the last 8 years has seen an increased level of air operations in efforts at checkmating the nefarious activities of terrorists and criminal elements in the country.”
Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet also added, “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, yesterday 15 August 2023, at his office where he noted that the rates of aircraft .”
NAF also added that ” 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.”
It warned that ” 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. ”
The Nigeria Air Force also added that ” While calling on all Nigerians to continue to support the Armed Forces of Nigerian and other security agencies as we all jointly confront our common enemies, the NAF wishes to appreciate the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, for his message of condolence and words encouragement. Our appreciation also goes to other well-meaning Nigerians for their support.”