We didn’t make payment to bandits in exchange for weapons- NAF

 The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has debunked a report that it paid the sum of N20 million to bandits in Jibia Local Government Area of state in exchange for an anti-aircraft gun allegedly seized by the bandits for the fear of being used against it aircraft .

NAF Director of Public Relations and Information Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet in a statement Sunday, described the report as “spurious allegation designed to cast aspersions on the good image of the Service”

He said the report is false and should be taken as fake news.

The statement reads in part: “The NAF wishes to categorically state that there is absolutely no iota of truth in the spurious allegation that was undoubtedly designed to cast aspersions on the good image of the Service.

“The said report is totally false. It should therefore be taken as fake news and disregarded. Indeed, we ordinarily would not have responded to such baseless and utterly illogical allegation but for the need to set the record straight as well as reaffirm the NAF’s unflinching commitment to decisively dealing with the armed bandits and all other criminal elements in the country in partnership with other services of the Armed Forces and other security agencies.

 “For the avoidance of doubt, it must be stated that there is no basis for the NAF to pay bandits or any criminal elements that it has continued to attack and decimate in Katsina state, other parts of the North-west as well as other Theatres of Operation in the country.

“Indeed, as recent as 12 October 2021, NAF aircraft conducted 5 missions in the Jibia general area and engaged targets with rockets and cannons at Bala Wuta bandits’ locations in Kadaoji. Similar successes were recorded at Fakai Dutsin Anfare, an area in Jibia LGA known for its high incidences of bandits’ activities. The false reportage therefore, begs the question as to why the NAF would negotiate for a weapon allegedly seized and still carry out air interdiction missions on the same bandits and their strongholds.

“The NAF is of the view that this latest false report could be a part of a campaign to further the cause of insecurity in Nigeria by elements who see the NAF as a threat following a series of successful exploits in operations against criminal gangs.”

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