A committee of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) officers has been inaugurated to compile all allegations of accidental air strikes on civilians and review the circumstances leading to such strikes, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, has stated.
The committee is expected to proffer far-reaching measures to mitigate future collateral damages on civilians during NAF operations.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Air Operations Seminar in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, yesterday, Amao noted that the investigation further aims at promoting accountability, allowing the force to learn valuable lessons to avoid or mitigate similar cases in the future, as well as taking extra measures to minimise casualties in conflict areas.
While congratulating 17 young pilots winged during the opening ceremony, the NAF boss implored the pilots to be prepared for the arduous task ahead.
His words: “There is no better way to launch you into your operational flying career than to have you draw from the rich operational experiences of seasoned pilots, who will be discussing germane issues to air operations.”
Specifically, he reminded the young pilots to always adhere to laid-down rules of engagement, while also taking all necessary steps to protect civilians and minimise casualties during operations.
“The efforts to mitigate civilian casualties are not just a reflection of NAF values as a service, but also strategically imperative to our operations,” he added.
Welcoming other participants and invitees to the seminar, Amao stated that the seminar’s theme, ‘Harnessing Nigerian Air Force Combat Experience in Joint Military Operations for Doctrinal Development’, was borne out of the need to draw instructions from the diverse and rich air combat experiences towards the development of sound doctrinal principles to guide future engagements.
This, according to him, is largely because lessons learnt from previous campaigns remain veritable sources of inputs for doctrinal development.
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, noted that the NAF has lived up to its statutory responsibilities and objectives over the years, considering its successful exploits in Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia and Mali, which earned Nigeria great international recognition.
He noted that the professionalism of NAF under Amao further gave Nigeria a sense of hope and security. While acknowledging the great sacrifice that Nigeria’s serving and retired airmen have made and continue to make towards the peace and progress of the country, he expressed optimism that with the pragmatic and dynamic leadership of Amao, the NAF will get all it requires to optimally secure the nation .
NAF will be conducting Sea Flying/Training Exercise today, using select NAF aircraft, to showcase the capabilities of NAF as well as its presence in the ongoing air operations against crude oil theft in the South South region of the country.
It is also a training that intends to improve aircrew skills in the tactical aspects of maritime operations, thus enhancing their skills.