NAF denies paying bandits N20 million in exchange for weapons

Umahi legacy


By Idris Ibrahim

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has denied allegations that the service paid money to bandits operating in Katsina forest in exchange for a sophisticated weapon allegedly seized by the brigands.

The Wall Street Journal had earlier reported that NAF, via its top personnel paid the sum of N20 Million to bandits operating in Jibia Local Government Area (LGA) of Katsina State in exchange for an anti-aircraft gun allegedly seized from the army.

The report further disclosed that the reason behind the payment was to “retrieve the anti-aircraft gun which, it alleged, the NAF feared could be used against aircraft operating within Katsina State.”

Air Commodore Edward Gabwet, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information in a statement Sunday, described the allegations as “false and fake news.”

“The NAF wishes to categorically state that there is absolutely no iota of truth in the spurious allegation that was undoubtedly designed to cast aspersions on the good image of the Service. The said report is totally false. It should therefore be taken as fake news and disregarded. Indeed, we ordinarily would not have responded to such baseless and utterly illogical allegation but for the need to set the record straight as well as reaffirm the NAF’s unflinching commitment to decisively dealing with the armed bandits and all other criminal elements in the Country in partnership with other services of the Armed Forces and other security Agencies,” NAF said.

The air wing of the armed forces further bragged that there is no basis for NAF to pay bandits or any criminal elements that it has continued to attack and decimate in Katsina State, other parts of the North-West as well as other Theatres of Operation in the Country.

The statement noted that NAF last week, attacked several bandits enclaves in Kastina forest.

“Indeed, as recent as 12 October 2021, NAF aircraft conducted 5 missions in the Jibia general area and engaged targets with rockets and cannons at Bala Wuta bandits’ locations in Kadaoji. Similar successes were recorded at Fakai Dutsin Anfare, an area in Jibia LGA known for its high incidences of bandits’ activities,” NAF said.