The Nigerian Airforce on Sunday dismissed media reports that it has paid the sum of N20m to armed bandits operating in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State in exchange for an anti-aircraft gun allegedly seized.
In a statement which was signed by Edward Gabkwet, Air Commodore Director of Public Relations and Information Nigerian Air Force said, “the attention of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has been drawn to news reports circulating on some media platforms alleging that the NAF, through one of its personnel, paid the sum of N20 Million to armed bandits operating in Jibia Local Government Area (LGA) of Katsina State in exchange for an anti-aircraft gun allegedly seized.
He said, the NAF wishes to state categorically, that there is absolutely no iota of truth in the allegation, describing it as false.
He said the report was designed to cast aspersions on the good image of the service.
“NAF 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.
For the avoidance of doubt, it must be stated that there is no basis for the 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 said.
He further said, On October 12, 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, adding that, similar successes were recorded at Fakai Dutsin Anfare, an area in Jibia LGA known for its high incidences of bandits’ activities.
The statement added that the false reports could be a part of a campaign to further the cause of insecurity in Nigeria by elements who see the NAF as a threat following a series of successful exploits in operations against criminal gangs.
“NAF wishes to appeal to members of the media, both local and international, as well as social media, to be circumspect in their reportage and endeavour to always verify their facts before going public.
The public is enjoined to disregard the falsehood emanating from some sections of the social and mainstream media.
The NAF also uses this opportunity to call on citizens to continue to cooperate with security agencies as efforts are ongoing to rid the entire Nation of criminals and their activities.” The statement further said
The statement further added that, NAF, as a professional and disciplined force, will not in any way be discouraged from carrying out its mandate to rid the entire North-West Nigeria of banditry and other forms of criminality, adding that it remained resolute in performing its functions and will continue to work in synergy with other sister Services and security agencies to rid the Country of all criminal elements.