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The Flying Coffins of Nigeria Armed Forces, Which Way Forward?

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By Moses Idika

All over the world, the Air Force is the power base of the military, modern warfare is fought in the air, the land forces merely “clear the debris.”

The ongoing Israel and Palestine Conflict is a testimony of what modern warfare looks like. Israeli military has recorded very huge and significant “victory” over Hamas terrorist group without deploying soldiers on foot into the Palestine territory simply because of strong Air Force backed by equally strong land troops and especially advanced technology.

In Nigeria, however, our Air Force is the weakest link of the armed forces.

It is unexplainable that within three months the Nigeria Air Force has lost three of its planes. More confounding is the fact that Nigerian authorities are clueless as to why the situation persists.

Nigeria government in the last six years has been in frenzy with regards to “acquiring” new technologies and especially aircrafts for the country, yet we keep losing precious airmen as if it was normal.

Taking stock of the last three air disasters involving Nigeria Military carriers reveals an unfortunate pattern enmeshed in an unfeeling corrupt cabal within a government that obvious gives no hoot if all the plane in its fleet crashes provided the Presidential Jet in unaffected.

On Friday night, the nation’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 other military personnel perished at the Kaduna International Airport in an air crash involving a NAF Beachcraft 350 aircraft which burst into flames after it crash landed just few metres to the runaway.

According to the Spokesman of the Nigerian Air Force, the “air crash involving a Nigerian Air Force aircraft occurred this evening near the Kaduna International Airport. The immediate cause of the crash is still being ascertained. More details to follow soon,” the same story that has always been told each time the recurrent decimal takes place.

The latest crash is the third in the unfortunate series of crashes involving NAF planes with no convincing explanation as to what happened and how future crashes could be avoided.

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On Sunday, February 21, 2021, another NAF Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft crash landed just before the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja killing all seven NAF personnel onboard. The crew of the ill-fated plane was said to had earlier reported engine failure.

In yet another unfortunate and perhaps the most painful accident involving NAF aircraft, on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, an Alpha-Jet aircraft that was in the battlefront in the endless war against Boko Haram terrorists and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) was lost and till today nothing has been heard about what happened to that jet or its crew.

While the insurgents claimed responsibility for downing the fighter jet, the Nigerian military denied the “shutdown” story, but has been unable to give a credible alternative explanation to what happened to aircraft or its tow pilots.

Just within three months a total of 20 Nigeria military personnel have lost their lives to air accidents that cannot be explained.

Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo on two occasions escaped death by whiskers when his chopper went down. First in June 2017 when the presidential chopper crashed after take-off in Gwagwalada town in the FCT and on February 2019 when the VP’s chopper once again went down in Kabba, a sleepy town in Kogi State. The VP is the real cat with nine lives obviously.

The above sad fortune of the Nigeria armed forces has led to questions being asked about the safety of military aviation in the country, as civil aviation has recorded no crash involving commercial flights in about a decade now, thankfully.

What could be responsible?
On Wednesday August 30, 2017, the Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) released its report on the Nigeria Police Helicopter that crashed in a village near Jos, Plateau State that killed the then newly promoted Deputy Inspector General of Police, Haruna John and three other police personnel including the pilot of the chopper.

The report of the AIB was startling as it was revealing. That report gave insight into what may be happening to the Nigeria military as far as the recurring air crashes involving its aircrafts is concerned.

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According to the details of the AIB’s report presented by its Commissioner, Akin Olateru at the bureau’s headquarters at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, the two pilots, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Garba Yelwa and Alexander Pwol-ja (co-pilot) that were in charge of the helicopter had no business flying the chopper as at the time it crashed.

Both pilots were not qualified to man the aircraft; they had no adequate training on the aircraft in line with global aviation rules.

According to the AIB report, Yelwa’s medical certificate and simulator recurrency had expired at the time of the crash, while the co-pilot was not equally type-rated on the helicopter brand, meaning that he did not have the proper certification to pilot the helicopter. It beats all imaginations that the Nigeria armed forces put two of its personnel with no adequate training or know-how of a plane on the cockpit, more so as the bird was to ferry one of its most senior officers.

Also, the report revealed that the engineer that released the helicopter prior to the flight was similarly unqualified!

The report revealed that the engineer did not have the necessary type-training and type-rating for the aircraft type he released to embark on the journey that eventually claimed the lives of the DIG, his orderly and the two unqualified flight crew. Imagine calling a radio technician to fix your car.

Nine years after that watershed AIB report, military aviation in Nigeria seem to have taken a deeper dip into chaos.

Despite the fact that the AIB, in its safety recommendations, called on the Nigeria Police Force, and by extension the military to provide the proper funding, to carter for proper training of its personnel and to provide a conducive working environment, and develop and implement a robust training program for its technical and operational personnel with adequate supervision and approved equipment to enhance safety, the question remains which part of that report was not clear to the authorities or have been implemented by our armed forces?

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From all indications, the situation has obviously worsened. If not why would the Nigeria military lose 20 of its bright stars within a space of three months in air crashes and nobody is taking responsibility?

It is only in Nigeria that military and police vehicles breakdown on the roads with reckless abandon!

They have started treating our military aircrafts like patrol vans.

I can imagine the people in charge of maintenance of these aircrafts wondering while the government will be “spending such huge amounts of dollars to carry out routine maintenance on a plane that is not broken down.”

While Nigeria top military brass and the police high command build mansions in choice areas across the capitals of Nigeria, buying palatial villas in Dubai and London, the work tools of our armed forces become decrepit, worn out and thereby exposing service men to their untimely deaths.

This inability to get Nigeria airpower to function obviously explains why the Boko Haram insurgents and bandits are fast overrunning parts of the country, or how else can one explain why a ragtag militia men on motorbikes can continually inflict such mortal blows on the Nigeria military.

The Federal Government should for once take responsibility, take charge and abide by the rule books in handling security in the country by ensuring that proper steps in line with international aviation safety regulations are taking to save our military personnel from the flying coffins that our armed forces planes have become.

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IPOB Leader Nnamdi Kanu Rearrested, Remanded In DSS Custody

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The Federal Government has rearrested the self-acclaimed leader of the proscribed Indegenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, who has been on the run after jumping bail in 2017.

This was revealed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami on Tuesday in Abuja. Nnamdi Kanu was later arraigned before the Federal High Court, Abuja, Tuesday,

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Abubakar Malami while briefing newsmen in Abuja said Kanu was arrested on Sunday through the joint efforts of the intelligence and security services.

Malami further said that, “Self-acclaimed leader of the proscribed secessionist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Kanu, has been intercepted through the collaborative efforts of Nigerian intelligence and Security Services,” Malami said in a statement. push({});

“He has been brought back to Nigeria, in order to continue facing trial after disappearing, while on bail regarding 12 count charge against him.

“Recent steps taken by the Federal Government saw to the interception of the fugitive Kanu on Sunday the 27th day of June 2021.

“Nwannekaenyi Nnamdi Ngozichukwu Okwu-Kanu, born 25th September, 1967 at Afaraukwu, Abia state Nigeria, is a holder of Nigerian Passport No A05136827, first issued 17th October, 2013, at FESTAC, Lagos,

“It is recalled that Kanu was arrested on 14th October 2015 on 11 count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms, and improper importation of goods, among others.

“A judge at the Federal Hgh Court, Abuja on 28th March, 2019, revoked Kanu’s bail that was granted him on health ground and issued a bench warrant for his arrest on the same date, over his failure to appear in court for hearing.

“He has, upon jumping bail, been accused of engaging in subversive activities that include inciting violence through television, radio and online broadcasts against the Nigerian state and institutions,
“Kanu was also accused of instigating violence especially in south-eastern Nigeria that resulted in the loss of lives and property of civilians, military, paramilitary, police forces and destruction of civil institutions and symbols of authorities.”

Meanwhile, The Federal High Court ordered that Nnamdi Kanu, be remanded in the Department of State Service (DSS) facility, pending the determination of his trial.

Justice Binta Nyako gave the order after counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Shuaibu Labaran, told the court that the defendant (Kanu), who jumped bail, had been arrested and produced in court.

Labaran urged the court for an order detaining the arrested IPOB leader at the DSS facility pending the hearing and determination of the matter. Justice Nyako, who granted the plea, adjourned the matter until July 26 for trial continuation.

However, no sooner had the judge ruled than Kanu indicated his interest to talk.

Nnamdi Kanu told the court that he decided to go underground because his house was raided but he escaped. He further said that if he had not escaped, he might have been killed like other members of the group.

The judge, who advised him not to feel discomfiture to stand his trial, urged him to get across to his lawyer for the trial.

Nnamdi Kanu was arrested on October 14, 2015 on 11 count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.

A judge at the Federal High Court, Abuja revoked Kanu’s bail that was granted him on health ground issuing a bench warrant for his arrest, same date, over his failure to appear in court for hearing.

After jumping bail, Kanu has been accused of engaging in subversive activities that include inciting violence through television, radio and online broadcasts against Nigeria and Nigerian State and institutions.

He was also accused of instigating violence especially in the South-eastern Nigeria that resulted in the loss of lives and property of civilians, military, para military, police forces and destruction of civil institutions and symbols of authorities.

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.

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How To Ensure Your Children Desist From Drug Abuse

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Dr Ngozichukwu Unaogu, a Consultant Psychiatrist, on Saturday charged families to ensure that children and wards desist from experimenting or engaging in drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

Unaogu, who is the Head, Training and Research of Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, gave this advice while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on the import of 2021 World Drug Abuse Day.

This year’s World Drug Abuse Day, which is celebrated every June 26, is with the theme: “Share Facts on Drugs and Save Lives’’.

Unaogu noted that families have a lot to do in terms of sensitizing the young ones against drug abuse since “the family is the smallest unit of the society’’.

According to her, every individual comes from a family and I think if each family trains and educates their wards against drug abuse and trafficking, the job will be less.

“When the fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking is brought down to the family level, a lot will be achieved in stemming the menace and up scaling treatment at the neigbourhood, community, state and societal levels.

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“There is a need for parents to find time to educate their wards on psycho-active substances and their various side effects on the physical, emotional and social aspect of their lives.

“I think if we take it from the cradle, from the family level, we will achieve more than we are achieving now.

“Because children will grow up with the knowledge and awareness that psycho-active substances or drugs are injurious to health. I also think it will reduce the demand and use of drugs,’’ she said.

Unaogu, who is also the Head of Training of International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP), also called on parents to monitor children’s behaviour, the friends they keep and their social engagements.

She advised parent to watch out for signs that suggest drug use in children, which includes withdrawal to oneself, being secretive, being aggressive or relapsing into depression, having strange objects or paper wrappers in school bags and their rooms.

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“Other signs are: keeping secretive friends, keeping late at nights or staying outdoors excessively;  visiting morally injurious websites in the Internet and suddenly showing signs of disrespect and boldness,’’ the consultant psychiatrist said.

She also warned parents to protect their children against bad influence of adults that take alcohol, cigarette and Indian hemp around homes no matter how closely related to the family.

Unaogu said: “Make it clear that uncles and aunts taking one form of drug or alcohol do it outside the home and never to send a child on an errand to buy some for them.

“Most times, children will be tempted to experiment taking the remnant of the alcohol or smoke when asked to tidy-up the table in the guise of wanting to get a feel of what the substances give or do’’.

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World Drug Abuse Day is meant to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving the goal of a world free of drug abuse.

Author Profile

Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.

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APRM Nigeria 2nd Peer Review: President Buhari Approves Report, Ready For Validation

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Following the Presentation of Country Self-Assessment Report (CSAR) of Nigeria’s Second Peer Review Process by Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) during its weekly Meeting on 23rd June, 2021,  President Muhammadu Buhari approved the Report, now ready for validation by the Country Review Mission (CRM) of African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a voluntary self-assessment instrument of African Union to deepen Good Governance and Development.  

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In a statement signed by Media Assistant to NC/CEO,AUDA-NEPAD/APRM Nigeria Abolade Ogundimu on Friday in Abuja said that National Governing Council, led by the Chairman, Senator Abba Ali, accompanied by Princess Gloria Akobundu, Secretary of the Council and CEO, AUDA-NEPAD/APRM Nigeria; Dr. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Louis Mandama, and Prince Ugo Beke, Members of NGC, presented the CSAR while  Dr. A. A. Karim, Deputy Commandant and Director of Studies at National Institute For Security Studies, Abuja, the Institute that carried out domestic Review of the Report was also in attendance. 

Princess Gloria Akobundu, National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer, African Union Development Agency- New Partnership for Africa’s Development/ African Peer Review Mechanism (AUDA-NEPAD/APRM) Nigeria, lauded President Buhari for his unwavering support to the Process, adding that once again the President had demonstrated through his approval of the report, his strong commitment and believe in the Review Process.

According to Akobundu, given the President’s commitment to the Review, recommendations of the Report will get Federal Government’s attention. 

“President Buhari approved the conduct of Nigeria’s Second Review, 11 years after First Review. He ensured that the necessary structures were put in place including the inauguration of the National Governing Council Members, drivers of the Process.

“The NGC and the National Secretariat keying into the President’s passion for the process, ensured rapid and careful implementation, even amid COVID-19 pandemic.

“We thank God for the cooperation and support of stakeholders across every sector of the economy and National life.

“We highly appreciate APRM Continental for its guidance and cooperation towards the success of the exercise,” she said.

On 24th June,2021, Akobundu along with,  Dr. Mandama, Prince Beke and Dr. Karim, as well as Mrs. Adefunke Adimula, Director,  APRM Department in the Agency  visited Hon Prince Clem Agba, Hon Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, as follow up to SGF’s  Presentation of Country Self-Assessment Report (CSAR) of the Second Peer Review of Nigeria to the  Federal Executive Council.

Nigeria’s Second CSAR is a product of meticulous process started in 2019 as part of President Buhari ‘s commitment to good governance and Development of the nation focusing on the four APRM thematic Areas namely: Democracy and Political Governance; Socio-Economic Development ; Corporate Governance ; Economic Governance and Management; as well as Cross-cutting Issues, after the first Review was carried out in 2008.

With the approval of the President, all is now set for the Country Review Mission Team, led by Ambassador Mona Attia, who are expected in the country to validate the CSAR by conducting town hall meetings, Sectoral Consultations and meeting with key stakeholders across the six Geo-Political zones.

Author Profile

Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.

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