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NAF speaks on ‘helicopters dropping weapons’ for herdsmen in Enugu

The Nigerian Air Force, Sunday, denied reports circulating on social media, alleging that its operatives dropped weapons for killer Fulani herdsmen in the forest area of Akwuke Community, Enugu South LGA of Enugu State.

In a statement by Faith Aigbeoghain, Flight Lieutenant, Acting Command Public Relations and Information Officer, Headquarters Ground Training Command Nigerian Air Force,  the Air Force described the report as false, “deliberately misleading and obviously concocted by the writer to cause disaffection and incite negative, divisive emotions”.

The report, accompanied with a picture, had gone viral, claiming that the Airforce personnel were dropping weapons for the Fulani herdsmen ahead of a planned attack in Enugu State.

But the Airforce spokesman has now dismissed it as unfounded.

The statement said, “The attention of Headquarters Ground Training Command (HQ GTC) Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Enugu has been drawn to a story being circulated by some mischievous, misguided elements purporting that NAF helicopters were being used to “drop” weapons for Fulani herdsmen in the forest area of Akwuke Community in Enugu South Local Government Area (LGA) of Enugu State.

“The report alleged that helicopters had been seen on several occasions flying at low level and landing in the forest area to “discharge their packages”.

“HQ GTC wishes to state that the report is deliberately misleading and obviously concocted by the writer to cause disaffection and incite negative, divisive emotions. It must be noted that the NAF has 2 helicopter training institutions under its purview, which have been operating in Enugu for several years.

These are the International Helicopter Flying School (IHFS) and 405 Helicopter Combat Training Group (405 HCTG), whose training curricula include low level flying around the forest areas near Akukwe, which is one of their designated training areas.

“In particular, the 405 HCTG commenced tactical training on the newly acquired 109 Power helicopters on 24 May 2019, which includes low level flying as well as other maneuvres requiring them to land and take off within the training area. However, at no time was any NAF helicopter used to ‘drop’ any materials, let alone deliver weapons to any individual or group. Members of the public, especially residents of Enugu State, are therefore advised to discountenance the fake report and go about their normal activities without fear.

“The NAF, as a professional fighting force, remains resolute in performing its constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of a united Nigeria. Accordingly, we shall continue to work assiduously, in synergy with sister Services and other security agencies, to rid the country of all criminal elements in order to enable all Nigerians pursue their legitimate aspirations.”

Sunday Olatunji
Dele Fashomi, seasoned journalist and communication teacher, is a holder of Master of Arts degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan in 1992/93. Earlier, he had bagged a Bachelor degree from the same university in 1984, after which he proceeded to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, in 1990, for a postgraduate diploma in Journalism. He had done many courses in communication, including the EU-BBC Editing Course in 2002. Mr. Fashomi combines effectively the practice, research and teaching of communication. And to date, he has published two academic works in communication: Issues in Communication Technology and Policy (2010) and Economic and Social Issues in Advertising and PR (2013). He had his first break in the Nigerian media in Concord Newspapers in 1990 and today, he has over two and half decades experience earned in several newspapers. He has been part of many start-ups, such as The Republic (1987), The Comet (1999), The Anchor 2001 - 2002; Sun Newspapers (2003); Westerner newsmagazine (2005 - 2010) as Editor; National Life (2011) as Sunday Editor, and Newswatch Newspapers (2012- 2016) as Daily Editor. Dele Fashomi is now the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Newstide247.com newspaper online, which he started in July 2015. He is also into biography writing, with many books in his trail, some of which he wrote alone and one he co- authored with his mentor, Mr Dare Babarinsa, entitled:  Olabiyi Durojaiye - DARE TO BE DiFFERENT. He also guided and collaborated with Pa Olatunji Odusanya in writing his autobiography - AGAINST ALL ODDS. There are many other books in the works under his pen.
http://newstide247.com
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