Report: NAF Loses 15 Aircraft, 33 Men in 14 Crashes

by John Ojewale
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Report: NAF Loses 15 Aircraft, 33 Men in 14 Crashes

According to a report, the Nigerian Air Force has recorded the death of 33 Men in 14 Crashes and lost 15 Aircraft in seven years. Despite the Nigerian Air Force’s promises, the causes of these events have not been made public.

However, analysts attributed a big part of the accident to the aircraft’s inadequate maintenance. The crashes have cost the military money and decreased the number of aircraft in their fleet, despite the advent of the Super Tucano fighter.

After the April 2022 disaster, Bashir Magashi, the minister of defence, allegedly claimed-

“The incident had depleted the human capital assets of the Air Force”.

According to Timothy Avele, a security expert, accidents under the Buhari administration may have been caused, among other things, by a lack of maintenance.

He said-

“Military air crashes occur in any military in the world even in the USA. However, losing over 30 personnel in over 12 crashes in a span of eight years shows either lack of international maintenance standards or lack of quality and airworthiness policy implementation.

“Generally, we have a poor maintenance culture in Nigeria, especially by government agencies.

“Another major factor that should be looked into is the issue of the quality of spare parts supplied to maintain these military aircraft.”

The report claims that except for 2020 and 2023, cases of crashes were recorded yearly.

In February 2023, the Air Force was fortunate not to have recorded a crash after one of their jets lost its tyre mid-air and made an emergency landing at Lagos Airport on its belly. Between February 22, 2021, and April 19, 2022, no fewer than 20 military personnel lost their lives in the ill-fated crashes.

On February 22, 2021, seven NAF personnel on their way from Abuja to Minna, Niger State to rescue the abducted students and workers of Government Science College, Kagara, died when their plane crashed shortly after takeoff from the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport.

On March 31, 2021, former NAF spokesperson, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, confirmed an aircraft crash and the whereabouts of the two pilots.

The most prominent of the crashes happened on May 21, 2021. A military Beachcraft 350 aircraft crashed at the Kaduna International Airport, killing the 11 people onboard, including the late Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru.

On July 18, 2021, another Alpha Jet Aircraft crashed in Zamfara after it was shot down by bandits. The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, escaped from the crashed aircraft.

In April 2022, a trainer aircraft crashed in Kaduna, killing two pilots on board.

Other crashes are the August 29, 2015, Air Force plane crash in Kaduna. This had killed seven persons out of which four were military personnel.

In another incident on October 10, 2015, an F-7Nl jet crashed and claimed one life. Also, an Augusta Westland 101 helicopter crashed in Makurdi, Benue State on November 15, 2016

On July 6, 2017, a NAF Agusta 109 Light Utility Helicopter crashed in Borno River. There were no casualties.

Two F-7Ni aircraft crashed around Katampe Hills in Abuja, on September 28, 2018. The aeroplanes collided with each other during a rehearsal for Nigeria’s 58th independence anniversary celebration. One person died in the crash.

On January 2, 2019, five crew members were killed on NAF Mi-35. They were killed when the aircraft crashed near Damasak, Borno State.

Also, a NAF helicopter crashed while landing in Katsina State, on June 12, 2019. No life was lost in the crash.

Similarly, on August 17, 2019, a NAF aircraft RV-6A Air Beetle crashed near Kaduna, killing the pilot, an experienced instructor.

The crash at the NAF base in Enugu involved a training helicopter. The incident happened on November 14, 2019. No life was lost to the incident.

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