By Tunde Adetunji, Abuja
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has said it has nothing to hide regarding the accidental bombing of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp the northeast region.
Air Force Spokesman, Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya, stated this at the weekend when he met with Defence Correspondents at NAF Conference Centre, Kado, in Abuja.
Recall that several people were feared dead after a military plane mistakenly dropped a bomb inside the Rann IDP camp in Borno State. The Rann IDP camp in Kala-balge Local Government Area caters for thousands of persons displaced by Boko Haram.
Adesanya urged Nigerians to be patient with the outcome of the findings of the report established to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident, adding that the matter cannot be swept under the carpet in view of the gravity of the accident.
He said: “We are aware of the interests the matter has generated within and outside the country. A Board of Enquiry has been set up to determine what happened, who are those involved, what led to the accident and how do we prevent a recurrence.
“We are pleading with Nigerians to be patience with NAF so that the Board of Enquiry will do its assignment diligently. And don’t forget that some of the people involved, victims or their relatives, maybe people who could not speak English. So a thorough job has to be done.
“And again, remember the NAF for the past seven years has been involved in the campaign against the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast without any accident of such magnitude. I, for instance, have lost some of my students in Jaji, some of my course mates have died and even Senior Officers in the course of fighting and defending the country and the people.
“To us it is traumatizing, because the chance is 50/50 whenever you climb an Aircraft, you never can tell maybe that will be your last outing, so it is traumatizing to us when the people you set out to protect or defend become victims of your action, either by acts of commission or omission.
“So that is why we are saying that at this period, it will do us more good to be encouraged by our many victories and successes in the past seven years, than judging us by our mistakes or shortcomings. Remember there is no human institution that is perfect, therefore the NAF cannot be an exception.”
He explained that the NAF has acquired more aircrafts fitted with latest technology to undertake various clearance operations against Boko Haram , stressing that besides training over 6,000 personnel in various areas, the aircrafts could fight all through the night, during rain and all day.
According to him, “For now Boko Haram has been so decimated that they could not move freely as before or hoist their flags on any territory belonging to Nigeria. The NAF is committed to the on-going clearance operations and flushing out remnants of the insurgent group.”
He commended the efforts of the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar for paying attention to the welfare of NAF personnel as well as the Internally Displaced Persons, saying that between 1964 and 2015 only 45 percent of personnel have accommodation, but that in the past two years the percentage has risen to 63.
He added that while a number of security dogs were acquired by NAF to detect explosives and drugs, the NAF has carried out medical treatments of various categories free of charge at different IDP Camps.
He said, besides counter insurgency operations in the Northeast, the NAF Is also involved in Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) operations in the South-South and parts of South-West on oil installations and facilities, and against cattle rustling in the Northwest.
He dismissed as untrue allegation of rivalry among personnel of sister services, saying all the armed forces operate together to achieve common goals and objectives and there was no way they could deviate from their ethos because their duties and functions are intricately linked.