By Okosun Dennis
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Monday in Abuja said that the force did not receive any rescue call regarding an attack on a Borno village on Sunday, November 1, 2020.
An unnamed online platform was quoted to have reported that the Nigerian Airforce “did not respond to calls for support when suspected Boko Haram insurgents attacked Takulashi Village in Shikarkir Ward, Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State in the morning of Sunday, November 1, 2020.
Describing the allegation as lacking “truth and spurious”, the Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, added that the information purportedly obtained from supposed “military sources” was “baseless and unfounded.”
Part of the statement read, “The NAF wishes to state that there is absolutely no iota of truth in the spurious allegations. Indeed, we ordinarily would not have responded to such baseless, unfounded allegations but for the need to set the record straight as well as reaffirm the NAF’s unflinching commitment to ensuring the security of Nigeria and Nigerians, wherever they may reside in the Country.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, it must be stated that the NAF did not receive any call for support regarding an attack at Takulashi Village in Chibok LGA on 1 November 2020.”
“Had any such report been received, the NAF, in its characteristic responsiveness, would have certainly taken appropriate action.”
“Indeed, the report rightly remarked that “if air support came on time, one or two air strikes would have decimated them”. However, no request in this regard was made to the Air Task Force of Operation LAFIYA DOLE (ATF OPLD) on the said date.”
Air Cdre Daramola emphasised that “it was very wrong of the report to state, without any basis, that the NAF “ignored rescue calls”.
“It is pertinent to highlight that the NAF, through the ATF OPLD, has flown over 26,000 hours of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and air interdiction missions as well as close air support missions in support of Operation LAFIYA DOLE in the last 5 years.”
He added that the NAF has been working “hand-in-glove” with other security agencies and has a crop of well-trained, highly-motivated young pilots that are ever ready and willing to respond to emergencies, whenever called upon.
“Hence, it is utterly ludicrous to insinuate that the NAF would fail to respond to any such situation, if called upon. The general public is therefore enjoined to discountenance the evidently false report,” Air Cdre Daramola reiterated.
Expressing further resentment about the allegations, he noted that, “it is equally disingenuous of the online medium to refer to an isolated incident that had its peculiar nuances of predisposition to collateral damage as a basis for justifying their blatantly false claims. This smacks of gross unprofessionalism and obvious deliberate intent at mischief.
“The NAF, as a professional and disciplined force, has and will continue to do its utmost to ensure the security of Nigeria and Nigerians across the Country.”
Air Cdre Daramola, however assured that, “We remain resolute in performing our function and would continue to work in synergy with other security agencies to rid the Country of insurgents and we would not be distracted by such evidently orchestrated attempts to tarnish the hard-earned, good image of the Service,” he concluded.