Insurgency and harsh economy brings out the best in NAF
The harsh economic times and insurgency in the northeast is bringing out the best in Nigeria and the armed forces. At least, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has been able to do the unthinkable by fabricating hydraulic diaphragms that can be used in the two different types of helicopter gunships in its fleet, something that was previously thought to be impossible.
At a meeting with journalists in Abuja recently, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Siddique Abubakar, explained how with N5 million, the NAF, working Nigerian experts from tertiary institutions, was able to resolve a technical bottleneck with one of its aircraft.
The manufacturers had asked for N25 million to “assess the problem,” with actual repairs reached the billion naira mark.Buoyed by some of the feats achieved in tandem with 16 Nigerian universities and polytechnics, the NAF is putting together a Research and Development (R&D) competition among all its commands next month.
On the recently released video by Boko Haram, the air chief described it as “cheap propaganda,” as those allegedly shown as those killed in NAF bombings could not have been hit by their bombs. The air force chief went on: “Even the IEDs that they developed, have you ever seen a complete body together after it has been detonated at any location? That is the crudest form of bomb, but when you go there after an explosion, you don’t see anything, not to talk of a 25KG bomb.
“If you look at the clip, they positioned the girls there. Somebody even told me that he saw one of the girls even moving her head.”“All I can tell you is that just looking at the way they did it, you can clearly see that it couldn’t have been something that happened after an air strike.
“If you drop a bomb, there will be a crater. Where is the crater? If you drop a bomb, within certain meters radius of the point of impact, everybody there will be gone. In most cases, they will be shredded, depending on the type of bomb, where it is dropped and the kind of configuration you used in doing the bombing. “But if you now neatly arrange people and say these people were killed by air strike, it doesn’t make sense at all.
“So, these guys are jus trying to whip up sentiments because they know that every Nigerian is concerned about those girls. I have daughters and sometimes when I look at my daughters, I remember those girls.
“There is no day that the sun rises and sets that we don’t go out hoping to see these girls. From January this year to August 17, we flew about 2,600 hours and about 50 per cent of our mission was on ISR (Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance).”
Prodded further concerning arguments that the girls may be collateral damage from the bombings, the air chief admitted that there is no military operation without collateral damage.
He stressed: “We are trying within available resources to try and understand the terrain called Sambisa Forest and we are able to determine what is keg intimate target to be attacked. We don’t just go out to attack civilians, as counter- insurgency is about wining hearts and mind.“So, the girls have nothing to do with air strike. After an air strike, you will not see things like that the way they displayed them in their video. Maybe because they are used to fighting on land, they don’t know about air battle. So, they think that they can drop anything and it will make sense. It doesn’t work that way.”