From Okwe Obi, Abuja
A Civil Society Organisation, National Solidarity Group (NSG), has rejected calls for the removal of the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao over recent air crashes, describing the agitation as unfair.
The President of National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Solomon Adodo, had called for the removal of the CAS citing recent air crashes involving NAF jets.
According to Adodo: ‘We are worried that in the spate of three months, we have had three different military planes crashing. Over 20 military officers have lost their lives in 3 crashes across the country. This is unacceptable to the youth.’
But reacting to the call, Convener and Co-Convener of NSG, Kolo Mohammed and Edidiong Udom, in a statement yesterday, advised the leadership of NYCN to wait for the outcome of the report to ascertain the cause of the mishap.
They, however, explained that the frequency of the crashes could be linked to the security challenges facing the country presently, arguing that even the United States of America also experience military air crashes even when it is not in war.
According to NSG, ‘while not standing in for the Nigerian Airforce, it is better all citizens understand that we in “war times”.
‘We know members of NYCN are concerned about the crashes like every other Nigerian.’
They listed cases of military aircraft crashes in some other developed countries and called for caution in calling for removal of the CAS
‘In January 2021, 3 National Guard members on a training flight were killed when their UH-60 Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopter crashed in a farmer’s field in western New York.
‘In February 2021 in Idaho, USA, Army National Guard UH-60 crashed 10 miles east of Boise, in bad weather during a routine training mission. All three crewmembers aboard the aircraft were killed.
‘Just this Monday, a pilot was killed when a military plane crashed near Las Vegas after taking off from Nellis Air Force Base.
‘Similarly, in March 2021, three military pilots died in Russia when ejection seats of their Tu-22 strategic bomber malfunctioned.
‘Our brother, Solomon Adodo, and the NYCN will agree that the USA and Russia are not facing the security challenges we presently face, but they have of recent faced similar military aircraft mishaps.
‘We, therefore, say calling for removal of anyone is too early, much more the new service chiefs have not spent up to five months in office.
‘Gratefully, the CAS has constituted a Committee of serving and retired senior officers to conduct a safety audit of all Nigerian Air Force (NAF) operational and engineering units.
‘The country is going through difficult times and what our military personnel need is the understanding of all. We must appreciate the sacrifice they are making to bring peace to the country,’ they said.