Juliana Francis

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has urged Nigerians to stop circulating on social media platforms videos depicting the wreckage of the crashed MI-171 helicopter with bodies of victims at Chukuba Village in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.


The Director of Public Relations and Information

Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore

Edward Gabkwet opined that such videos were being peddled by terrorists, stressing that Air Force will not give in to propaganda by terrorists.


Gabkwet said: “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 organisations involved in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations, incidences of fatalities, mishaps and crashes are sometimes inevitable.”


Gabkwet said the last eight years for NAF have witnessed an increase in the level of air operations in efforts at checkmating the nefarious activities of terrorists and criminal elements in the country.


According to him, 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.


He added: “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 and 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.”


He emphasised that the NAF, its resolve and determination to bring the current security situation in Niger State and all troubled spots in the country remains unshaken. “In fact, if anything, we are determined more than ever before, to take on the enemy frontally until they are brought to their knees,” said  Gabkwet.


While calling on all Nigerians to continue to support the Armed Forces of Nigerian and other security agencies, Gabkwet said it was necessary for all to jointly confront their common enemies.

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