The Nigeria Air Force (NAF) has debunked reports that its helicopters dropped weapons for herdsmen in the forest area of Akwuke Community in Enugu South Local Government Area.
A statement by Flight Lt. Faith Aigbeoghain, the Acting Public Relations and Information Officer of the Headquarters Ground Training Command, 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 Air Force personnel were dropping weapons for the herdsmen ahead of a planned attack in Enugu State.
The statement reads: “The attention of Headquarters Ground Training Command (HQ GTC) Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Enugu has been drawn to a story by some mischievous, misguided elements, purporting that NAF helicopters were being used to “drop” weapons for herdsmen in the forest area of Akwuke Community in Enugu South. The report alleged that helicopters were seen, on many occasions, flying at low level and landing in the forest area to “discharge their packages”.
“HQ GTC states 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 two 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 begun tactical training on the newly acquired 109 Power helicopters on May 24, which includes low level flying as well as other manoeuvres 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. The public, especially residents of Enugu State, are advised to discountenance the 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 to enable Nigerians pursue their legitimate aspirations.”