By Ismail Auwal
Nigerian Air Force denies news report that it has paid the sum of N20 million to armed bandits operating in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State in exchange for an anti-aircraft gun allegedly seized. Stressing that “there is absolutely no iota of truth in the spurious allegation that was undoubtedly designed to cast aspersions on the good image of the Service.”
This is disclosed in a statement signed by Nigerian Air Force, Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore, Edward Gabkwet.
“The said report is totally false. It should therefore be taken as fake news and disregarded. Indeed, we ordinarily would not have responded to such baseless and utterly illogical allegation but for the need to set the record straight as well as reaffirm the NAF’s unflinching commitment to decisively dealing with the armed bandits and all other criminal elements in the Country in partnership with other services of the Armed Forces and other security Agencies.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, it must be stated that there is no basis for the NAF to pay bandits or any criminal elements that it has continued to attack and decimate in Katsina State, other parts of the North-West as well as other Theatres of Operation in the Country. Indeed, as recent as 12 October 2021, NAF aircraft conducted 5 missions in the Jibia general area and engaged targets with rockets and cannons at Bala Wuta bandits’ locations in Kadaoji,” the statement reads.
NAF noted it similar successes were recorded at Fakai Dutsin Anfare, an area in Jibia LGA known for its high incidences of bandits’ activities.
“ The false reportage, therefore, begs the question as to why the NAF would negotiate for a weapon allegedly seized and still carry out air interdiction missions on the same bandits and their strongholds.”
The NAF is of the view that, this latest false report could be a part of a campaign to further the cause of insecurity in Nigeria by elements who see the NAF as a threat following series of successful exploits in operations against criminal gangs.
They also appeal to members of the media, both local and international, as well as social media, to be circumspect in their reportage and endeavour to always verify their facts before going public.
“ The public is enjoined to disregard the falsehood emanating from some sections of the social and mainstream media. The NAF also uses this opportunity to call on citizens to continue to cooperate with security agencies as efforts are ongoing to rid the entire Nation of criminals and their activities, “ Edward Gabkwet said.