By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
A group, Nigerian Advocates for Peace (NAP) has appealed to Nigerians to support the Nigerian Airforce as it join other arms of the military to tackle the various security challenges in the country.
NAP said it is disturbed by the unsubstantiated reports by Sahara Reporters that a NAF ATR 42 crash landed about two weeks ago.
The Sahara Reporters said the incident occurred at the Akure airport with 15 to 20 personnel on board to the South-East.
The report further said the incident was hidden by the Nigerian Airforce.
The Nigerian Advocates for Peace in a press release on Monday said that this is time for all citizens to cooperate with the Armed Forces of Nigeria and not issue inciting comments aimed at putting fear in the citizens or weakening the morale of military personnel.
The group lamented that recently the qualifications and capabilities of NAF Pilots was being called into question by some groups.
NAP said all this is part of calculated efforts to tarnish the good image of the Nigerian Airforce.
According to NAP, “The Nigerian Airforce under the present leadership has not hidden it’s commitment towards ensuring that insurgency and armed banditry are put to an end. It is therefore doing everything possible to ensure its equipments are in order.
“The general public is aware that the NAF leadership recently set up a committee to audit its Engineering and Operational units.
“We are also aware that NAF under the leadership of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao has renewed commitment on cooperation and collaboration with other Services in military operations.
“This is reflected in the theme of it’s 57th Anniversary celebration ‘Enhancing Nigerian Airforce Airpower Capabilities For Effective Joint Operations in Response to Contemporary National Security Challenges’
“We are also aware that during the anniversary celebration, 3 newly acquired JF-17 multi-role Thunder aircraft were inducted into its inventory by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Thankfully, the Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet has come out to say that report of the Akure crash is fake.
“We use this opportunity to appeal to Nigerians to allow the Accident Investigation Bureau, which has since recovered the black box of the ill-fated Beachcraft 350 jet to ascertain the cause of the crash.
“The sacrifices of the personnel of Nigerian Airforce and the military as a whole cannot be overlooked. What they need now is our support to lift their spirit.”