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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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2023: “Tinubu Championing Modern democracy with power of delegation” – Senator Kalu

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Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has said that the ability of the Presidential flag bearer of the All Progressive’s Congress (APC) , Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu to delegate responsibilities to competent persons in Authority will be beneficial for the country when eventually elected.

Shedding more light, the former Abia Governor noted that Tinubu’s skill to assign responsibilities is in line with the contemporary requirements of modern democracy, noting that the era of leaders single handedly conceiving and executing policies was over.

Kalu made this assertion while speaking on Political Paradigm, a political programme of Channels Television aired on Monday.

The Chieftain of the ruling APC cited the rapid growth of Lagos State to back his assertion, explaining that Tinubu as Governor had set the stage for development in the state. Kalu maintained the consistent political platform of Lagos put in place by the former Lagos Governor since 1999 has added to the growth and development witnessed in the state over the years.

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He said ; “Tinubu will be one of the greatest Presidents we shall ever have because of the skill of delegation. He has the skill and the modern way of leading people is no longer everything (Powers) to yourself.

“You must assign the job to other people who are competent , you must tell the people to do it and he has proven that as Governor of Lagos and after.

“Why Lagos is growing is because the leadership has been under one route and political party since 1999. So consistency matters a lot. I believe that Tinubu will do a lot of things differently for the benefit of Nigerians especially the business people.

“Lagos is a business center and he knows we can’t Govern effectively without involving the business people,so we have to enter a strong partnership with them.

“When people said Buhari wasn’t going to support Bola Tinubu, we went to the President and told him this is our party it’s not about anybody and you can see the President has come out willingly to identify and campaign for our party .

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Responding to questions on the alleged ill health of the APC Presidential Candidate, Senator Orji Kalu dismissed the claims describing them as mere public insinuations.

Kalu clarified that Bola Tinubu was very stable and healthy, he revealed that the Presidential hopeful works round the clock to attend to campaign activities and retires to bed at “3am” Daily.

Kalu added that it was normal for humans above the age of 40 years to witness few health challenges, which however can be managed to function effectively.

“His (Tinubu’s) health is very stable. No man above 40 is not sick. There is not one, no Nigerian above 40 that is not sick,” Kalu said on the pre-recorded Channels TV Programme.

The APC chieftain also stressed that some political opponents forged incoherent statements attributed to Tinubu at rallies.

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“These are things you people go to forge on the internet. All these things can be forged by political opponents,” he said.

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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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Xmas: Ajia Felicitates with Christians, Solicits For Prayers Over National Challenges

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The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP House of Representatives candidate for Ilorin West and Asa Federal Constituency Ibrahim Muhammed Ajia has felicitated with Christians in the country on the occasion of Christmas which is a commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, urging them to use the festive season to pray fervently for the nation to overcome its present challenges. 
 
Ajia in a Christmas message issued by his Media Team in Ilorin on the Christmas Day, calls on Christians to continue to live in peace, harmony and tolerance with adherents of other religions. 
 
In his greetings, “I felicitate with all Nigerians, especially Christian brothers and sisters on the joyous occasion of this year’s Christmas.
 
“On this occasion commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, let us all recommit ourselves to the virtues and ideals of peace, love and justice as exemplified by the Christ.
 
The House of Reps candidate added that, Christians must never forget the essence and lessons of Christmas by always reflecting on the teachings of the Messiah who paid the ultimate price for the benefit of mankind..
 
He admonished Christians to mould their lives after Jesus Christ, by showing love to people around them and be their brothers’ keepers at all times. 
 
Ajia however reiterated the PDP’s commitment to the people’s welfare and assured them of his readiness to be fair and just to the people of his constituency irrespective of their religious differences. 
 
The Founder of MAI Foundation distributes rice and cash gift to the Christian faithful in his constituency to further demonstrate his readiness to support the needy within his constituency irrespective of their backgrounds. 
 
He therefore reaffirms his commitment to partner with every Community Development Association, Religious leaders and groups in order to maintain peaceful coexistence and bringing rapid growth and sustainable development to Asa and Ilorin West Federal Constituency. 

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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2023 Elections: Why CBN Cashless Policy is Raising Dusts

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The Coalition of National Civil Society Organisations (CNCSOS)  has raised alarm over the recent developement concerning the CBN cashless policy.

This is contained in a world press conference by the coalition in Abuja today.

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The group said, “As you all know, the country was jolted when a group of human rights lawyers and some civil society organisations raised the alarm that there was a plot to frame the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele in terrorism financing allegation.”

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“The gravity of what Nigeria was confronted with came to the front burner when members of the group revealed that the Department of State Services (DSS) had even gone to the extent of approaching the court to obtain a warrant to arrest Godwin Emefiele without the consent or knowledge of the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); ”

“The Coalition of National Interest Defenders, which brought the development to the open, went ahead to allege that the plot was to keep Mr. Emefiele for at least 60 days until after the general elections next year. This should ring a bell when we recall that this alleged plot is coming immediately after the redesign of the naira notes and the review of the cash withdrawal limits for both individuals and organisations.”

“We have all hailed the cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria such that even the corrupt politicians who are opposing the cash withdrawal limits acknowledge that it is the way to go but that the timing was wrong. They also sort to get wavers for election spending. Why are they looking for wavers? They want to use our stolen commonwealth to buy our votes.”

“In view of the current revelation, we are afraid that the State Security Service is derailing from its statutory role to becoming a tool in the hands of desperate politicians. This is dangerous for the country and must be discouraged at any cost.”

“Those who wants to receive and spend money without any traces are those who have been kicking against the cashless policy of the CBN. If you have legitimate money, why are you afraid to wire the money through bank transfers? Why are you afraid of cash withdrawal limits? There is no limit to the amount you can transfer through the bank but because they are having our stolen money, they don’t want to make traceable transactions and that is the sin of Godwin Emefiele. That’s why they want him out of the way before the election so that someone who can do their biddings is appointed to reverse the cashless policy implementation.”

“We must note that President Muhammadu Buhari has shown maximum support for the economic stability and reform efforts of the CBN Governor and that was probably why they wanted to remove him from office without the consent of Mr. President.”

“At this juncture, we hail the Nigerian judiciary for refusing to be used for the planned hatchet job. It is unfortunate but it happened.”

“According to reports, the affidavit filed by the State Security Service in support of its application claimed that preliminary investigation had revealed various acts of terrorism financing and fraudulent activities perpetrated by Godwin Emefiele and his involvement in economic crimes of national security dimension but there was no evidence. Hence, the court rejected to issue order for the arrest of the CBN Governor. Even, the identity of the said Godwin Emefiele, as the sole respondent, was not clearly stated in the affidavit according to the court, which made the plot more of a shoddy deal.”

“And, in view of a reasonable suspicion that some politicians may have influenced the State Security Service in the planned arrest of Godwin Emefiele, we join well-meaning Nigerians and groups to the call on President Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to immediately put in motion the processes of suspending and thoroughly investigating the circumstances surrounding this national and international embarrassment. The attempt to obtain a backyard order to remove a high ranking officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for obvious political reasons should be of serious concern to all Nigerians as we don’t know who will be the next.”

“”By virtue of Section 150(1) and Section 174 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, the Attorney-General of the Federation has the powers to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court of law in Nigeria. Therefore, nothing stops the Attorney-General of the Federation from exercising his powers in this matter to send a clear signal to the international community that Nigeria is not a banana republic, where anything goes. If public office holders who err are not appropriately sanctioned, it will send a wrong signal to foreign investors and project Nigeria as a country without rule of law.

“”This is paramount as Section 174 (3) expressly stated that “In exercising his powers under this section, the Attorney-General of the Federation shall have regard to the public interest, the interest of justice and the need to prevent abuse of legal process.” What is primarily at stake here is public interest.

“”We hereby urge President Muhammadu Buhari and the CBN Governor never to relent in their efforts to place Nigeria among the best 20 economies in the world in line with the cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“”We assure Mr. Godwin Emefiele that Nigerians on the streets, who are in pains of starvation and hunger due to the continued looting of public funds meant for their well-being by some politicians, are standing with him and will vehemently resist any attempt to derail the cashless policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“”We also commend the Federal Government on the exemplary leadership with the ban on cash withdrawals from public accounts. The stoppage of cash withdrawal from all public accounts is another legacy in the war against corruption and electoral fraud by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. The ban on cash withdrawals and subsequent directive to public officers to immediately open domiciliary accounts in foreign and local currencies ahead of the commencement of the cash withdrawal policy will deepen the gains of the cashless policy of the federal government through the CBN.

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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