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Edward Gabkwet: Aircraft Fatalities Bound To Occur, Not Peculiar To Nigerian Air Force

“The only places you will not hear of military aircraft crashes are in places that do not have the aircraft to fly.”

The spokesman of the Nigerian Air Force, Edward Gabkwet, said air crashes that involve military aircraft are things that happen worldwide to any country that can boast of a fleet of aircraft. “Either you are training your pilots or in an operation. Either way, the likelihood of having a fatality is there.”

In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Wednesday, Edward Gabkwet said that the Nigerian Air Force has found itself in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations, so one should expect that these accidents are likely to occur.

He said that he does not agree that the Nigerian Air Force has had too many crashes, and he reiterated the chief of army staff’s statement that the number of aircraft accidents had by any armed force is directly proportionate to the amount of flying that is done.

Gabkwet says the number of flying in the Nigerian Air Force has increased so much because the federal government has invested a lot in the Air Force. Hence, it is not the case when people assume that the Nigerian Air Force has had too many crashes in a short period of time.

The spokesman of the Nigerian Air Force says they are not certain if the aircraft was shut down by bandits, but investigations are still ongoing. He cautions Nigerians by saying, “When terrorists post videos, you should not just send them out without confirming if they are true or not.” When that is done, they are only aiding and abetting what these terrorists are doing; we should not be assisting terrorists in spreading misinformation.

He made a clarification, saying contrary to reports, the Nigerian Air Force has not had 15 air crashes since 2015 but has had about 8, 9, or 10 but not 15. He said in their analysis that the Nigerian Air Force has had barely 0.9% crashes per year since 2015, and “that is a very good record for any armed forces with the number of flights we take on all over the country.”

Edward Gabkwet assured that measures are in place in terms of safety; there is an institute of safety in Oshogbo where all pilots go annually to get current on modern safety measures. It is ongoing and not just a one-off thing.

He ended his interview with Arise News by promising that “The Nigerian Air Force, like every military, will take lessons from the accidents rather than make it a public show.” 

-Catherine Amaga

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