Posted by News Express | 24 February 2021 | 2,168 times
By EMMANUEL OGEBE
We received with shock the news of a military plane crash at the Abuja International Airport.
We are deeply saddened as this is an airport we have used on over 100 humanitarian missions from 1996 to date.
While condoling the families of the valiant officers who died in the Line of duty, we must ask some pertinent questions:
1. If the team was going to assist with the rescue of the abducted school children, why was it leaving more than 72 hours after the students were abducted when it is globally normative that the first 48 hours are the most mission critical? Given the seven-year history of school mass abductions and massacres, Nigeria should have been better prepared for rapid responses.
2. Niger State is the nearest to Abuja Federal Capital Territory as the FCT was carved out of Niger State, so why was air transportation used when the road trip to Minna is shorter than to Makurdi, Jos, Lokoja or Kaduna – all the neighboring states’ capitals? Once again the misprioritization of resources has resulted in an avoidable air catastrophe. There should be limited military aviation operations over the capital city to minimize the danger to vital installations and population center. We recall that an aviator similarly crashed in Abuja also during our mission a couple of years ago.
3. Was it the threat of abduction by the notorious Fulani kidnap syndicate that caused the rescue team to fly instead of drive the short distance on the dreaded Abuja-Kaduna express? If we have army Generals with military escorts taking the train out of fear and then rescue teams taking a flight to evade abduction then our security situation is a joke.
We request that the Nigerian government provide full reports on all the military aviation mishaps including incidents cited by Prof Farooq Kperogi:
“When a Nigerian Airforce jet bombed an IDP camp in Rann, Borno State, on January 17, 2017 in error, which caused the death of at least 115 people, Buhari didn’t find it worth his while to console them, much less visit them. About three months later, on March 22, 2017, Boko Haram bombed another IDP camp in the Muna Garage area of Maiduguri. Again, there was insouciant silence from the same government that is bending over backwards to please Boko Haram terrorists.”
Similarly mysterious deadly aerial attack incidents such as this:
“Residents of Shafaron community of Numan Local Government of Adamawa state - have been gripped with fear following new discoveries which were made in line with the attacks by the alleged Fulani herdsmen which occurred on the 4th of December 2017 where over 70 died as a result of air raid by the Nigerian Air Force.
The community Leader said communities are now living in fear as some of the bombs allegedly dropped by the Jet Fighters were found on farmlands and inside houses bombed during the attack. “Our people now live in fear because no one knows where they may see any explosives. As you can see, some were found in a house bombed by Nigerian Airforce, while others were found in farmlands.”
According to the official press release: “the SNEB pods and rockets with high explosives warheads, like the ones we see today, show that NAF used excessive unlawful force against our villages,” the community leader said.
He said they have informed the Nigerian Police, the Air Force and DSS about the newly discovered bombs and are hoping that authorities will come and pick the explosives.
“We are calling on the Nigerian government to come and conduct a compete sweeping of our villages and get rid of any explosive so our people can live in peace without any fear,” Jonathan said.
Members of the press were taken round the community and shown 3 areas where the unexploded shells were found and cordoned.” https://www.nationalhelm.co/2018/03/unexploded-bomb-canisters-
Countries from whom Nigeria is purchasing airforce aircraft, including the USA, must insist on reports on full and satisfactory investigations on these incidents and others before releasing any further aircraft or munitions.
May God Grant the families of these heroes who have their lives in service of the nation divine consolation.
We urge the Government to speedily provide the death benefits, insurance, scholarships due to the families and other veterans lost. They paid the ultimate price for our corporate existence and the least we can do is pay their dues.
Incidentally a similar aviation incident also occurred in US on the same day. That incident is undergoing proper interrogation as should the fatal Nigerian mishap which claimed nine lives.
•Barrister Emmanuel Ogebe is of NIGERIA USA LAW GROUP, Washington.
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