The Nigerian Air Force vents its anger over the crash of its MI-171 helicopter and the circulation of a video of the crash on the internet, urging the public to desist from circulating such video.
Indeed, the NAF said it will not give in to terrorists propaganda and would not be deterred in its resolve to end insurgency within the country.
A statement by the force said it regrets the crash , especially as it involve the loss of lives of NAF personnel, adding that “the Service will never shy away from unravelling the probable cause of the crash with a view to drawing lessons.”
The statement signed by the spokesman of the force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet reads; “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 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.
“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 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.
“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.”