‘Send some detachment, fighter planes to Minna,’ Niger Governor begs NAF

NIGER State Governor Umar Bago, has appealed to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to deploy some detachments and fighter planes to the state for rapid response against insecurity.

The governor made the appeal on Tuesday, August 15, at NAF headquarters, Abuja, during a condolence visit to the Chief of Air Staff, Hassan Abubakar, following the reported ‘attack’ on the aircraft that claimed lives of yet-to-be-confirmed numbers of soldiers.

The ICIR earlier reported how terrorists affiliated to Abubakar Abdallah, popularly known as Dogo Gide, claimed responsibility for the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter that ‘crasheď on Monday, August 14, at Chukuba village in Shiroro Local Government Area, LGA, of Niger State.

The aircraft, carrying soldiers, was allegedly taken down while en route to evacuate and provide backup for troops confronting the terrorists in Chukuba and other neighbouring villages within the Shiroro Local Government Area.

Although the Nigerian Air Force has not released any official details of the incident, it claimed it is investigating the probable cause of the crash.

While addressing the officers of the NAF on his condolence visit, the governor expressed his sympathies to the military high command for the loss of ground troops to the enemy.

“One, to commiserate and condole with you over the death of your men and soldiers at Niger State the day before yesterday (Monday). The crash happened within the mountain of Shiroro. We deeply sympathise with you.

“We also sympathise with the Nigerian military over the losses recorded in the ambush that happened in Wushishi, which eventually brought about the evacuation by your own chopper that crashed.

He also assured NAF that the state government is ready to provide accommodations for the air force personnel in Minna close to the airport.

He said: “Your deployment of both fighter jets and UAVs have been very apt and helpful to the ground troops and our own local vigilantes. But like Oliver Twist, we need more.

“I have come here to say Minna airport was created as a backup for Abuja airport, and we have the longest runways in Nigeria. We’re calling on you to please send some detachments and some fighter planes to Minna so that we can have more rapid responses from when they are very close instead of flying from either Kainji or Kaduna.






     

     

    “Let me at this juncture say thank you for giving us this time, and to say that Niger State government will support you anywhere you are. We are happy with what you’re doing and we’re behind you and we will support you.

    “Our people have also asked me to tell you that we can actually give you accommodations if you can bring people. We will provide accommodations that are very close to the airport in Minna. Come and stay in Minna because we need your protection.”

    The ICIR reported how bandits have been causing havoc at Chukuba and other neighbouring villages of Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, with the recent incident starting on Friday, August 11.

    The attack, which lasted for three days, resulted in numerous casualties, with reports indicating that some soldiers, including local security officers (vigilantes), lost their lives while attempting to confront the terrorists.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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