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Security expert commends Irabor, Amao on rescue of NAF pilot

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Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor PHOTO: Twitter

A security expert, Ona Ekhomu, yesterday, commended the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) for rescuing Flt. Lt. Abayomi Dairo, whose Alpha jet was shot down by bandits in Zamfara State.

He said the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Oladayo Amao, leadership style made the difference.

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“They ordered prompt and aggressive response to the incident and this was responsible for the positive outcome,” he said.

Ekhomu, who is President of, Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), credited the successful rescue operation of interagency cooperation and collaboration with the AFN. Furthermore, the integrated battle formation, which the AFN adopted, made it easier to combine resources for the rescue

“By going all out to rescue Lt. Dairo demonstrated, the service chiefs demonstrated that the lives of members of the AFN are important and this is good for troop morale,” he said.

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He said Lt. Dairo’s rescue was the kind of story told only by the Americans, adding that there was a similar rescue behind enemy lines of an American fighter pilot in March 1999.

“In the incident, USAF Pilot Captain Scott O’Grady was shot down in Kosovo, but he skillfully evaded capture for six days until he was rescued. The AFN demonstrated the same commitment to officer safety of the Americans in the Capt. Scott O’Grady’s in the Dairo’s case,” he said.

He also commended the Directorate of Air Intelligence that was the leading edge of the rescue effort with its overhead platforms, maintaining that the technical intelligence was critical to Dairo’s location and extraction.

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Ekhomu, who is the first chartered security professional in West Africa, said the incident was troubling, insisting that clearly, the bandits now have the capability to threaten military air assets, which have been the backbone of bandit interdiction operations.

“In Nigeria’s longest war, the Boko Haram insurgency, there have been three enemy attacks on aviation, including the Wing Commander Chinda Hedima incident of October 2014, the UN helicopter attack of July 2020, and the Alpha Jet incident earlier this year, for which Boko Haram had responsibility.

“Given its goal to spread jihad in the north, Boko Haram may have provided resources and training to the bandits, which now constitutes a huge threat to military aviation,” he added.

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