By Chinelo Obogo
Veteran fighter pilot, Air Commodore Abayomi Balogun, has said that with the increase in military combat due to the war against terror, more plane crashes involving the military are likely to happen.
Reacting to the plane crash that happened few days ago at the Kaduna Airport in which the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru, died alongside three generals and seven others, Balogun, who appeared on Arise News morning show, said the results of the investigation into the crash will likely remain a secret only known to the Nigerian military.
The security expert, who before retirement logged in more than 2500 flying hours, said, because the country is at war, if the report of the investigation into the crash is released, the enemies of the country would take advantage of it.
“I served in the Air Force for 33 years and we know what we go through, so when people come up with different claims that the aircraft crashed because of this reason or that, everything right now is based on assumption. The cause of the accident would be determined by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) who are currently looking into it but for some of us who have experience in the field, we can put one and one together and say these are the likely causes. However, the final report will come from the AIB which is a civil agency.
“Generally, the causes of air accidents are the aircraft error, human factor, the act of God which are unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the pilot and the last one is any possible suicidal tendencies. Fortunately, we don’t have cases of suicidal pilots in Nigeria. However, we pray so hard not to have air crashes especially those of us in the military, but it is a fact that we live with and it will surely happen as long as we fly. Looking at our effort these days, especially because of the challenge we have ahead of us, there is no time in our history that the Nigerian Air Force has had so many hours within a short space of time because of what we are passing through. There was a time we were only dedicated to moving soldiers from one place to the other and flying VIPs around the country. But today, it is not so. We fly VIPs and now engage in combat.
“Like I said, we pray so hard that it doesn’t happen again, but there is likely to be more air accidents. The reason we have the AIB is to learn about the causes of such accidents so that we can prevent future occurrences. About President Buhari declaring Monday as holiday for the military, do you take a break when you are in the war front? No. You must maintain that aim until the war is over. But the President is the father of the nation and he chooses what to do.”