Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, at the weekend urged troops and air force personnel to remain undeterred and unrelenting in the fight against terrorism in spite of the crashed NAF Alpha-Jet aircraft.
A statement issued last night by NAF Spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said the air chief spoke while on another visit to the Air Component of Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri after receiving a brief from the Air Component Commander, Air Commodore Nnamdi Ananaba, on the ongoing collaborative efforts with the Nigerian Army (NA) to locate the actual site of the Alpha Jet crash.
Amao stated that “the events of the past few days involving the unfortunate crash of an Alpha-Jet aircraft should inspire and spur Nigerian Air Force (NAF) pilots, technicians and ground troops to remain resolute, unrelenting and undeterred in the fight against insurgency in the North-east and other parts of the country”.
According to the CAS, “despite the sad events of the past few days, now more than ever before is the time that the NAF must show strength, determination and remain undeterred and unrelenting until the entire North East is rid of terrorists and other criminal elements”.
Amao said while a lot had been achieved towards degrading the capacity and capability of the insurgents, much more was needed to achieve the desired level of peace and security in the region.
According to him, “we must continue to work assiduously, in synergy with sister services and other security agencies to ensure that peace and security of lives and property are achieved”.
On the issue of the crashed NAF Alpha-Jet aircraft, which was declared missing on March 31, 2021 after losing radar contact, the CAS stated that the videos being circulated on social media alluding that the aircraft was shot down were false.
“From critical analysis of all available intelligence, it was obvious that the air accident was caused by other factors soon to be unraveled”, he said.
He further stated that “efforts were still on in collaboration with the Nigerian Army and other security agencies to find the crashed aircraft as well as the two pilots so as to bring the matter to a close”.
Amao assured the troops of his support as they intensify efforts towards ensuring that the fight against insurgency is brought to a conclusion soon.
He further reassured them that the entire nation was behind them and supportive of their efforts hence the need for all to remain focused.
The CAS also used the occasion of the visit to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his encouragement and unrelenting support to the NAF.
The visit coincided with the Easter celebration where the CAS dined and interacted with the troops while also commending them for their efforts towards projecting air power as well as providing close air support to ground troops in the fight against insurgency.
Amao was accompanied on the visit by the Chiefs of Training and Operations, Aircraft Engineering and Logistics as well as some retired senior NAF officers.
The Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Farouk Yahaya, was also on hand to update the CAS on the activities of the entire North-east theatre.