The attention of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has been drawn to a publication on the front page of the Punch Newspaper of 1 May 2019, attributed to the Emir of Bungudu, alleging that the NAF ignored a distress call when armed bandits attacked Makwa Village in Kura Mota District of Bungudu Local Government Area (LGA) in Zamfara State on Saturday, 27 April 2019. According to the report, the Emir also claimed that the LGA Chairman, while supposedly alerting the NAF Commander, was allegedly told, by the Commander, that he was not supposed to have picked the Chairman’s call, “since you people have decided to disgrace us”. In addition, the report claimed that a Punch Correspondent had contacted the NAF for a response on that specific issue after the incident.
The NAF wishes to state categorically that the said report and the alleged remarks by the Emir of Bungudu are fraught with errors and inconsistencies, deliberately concocted to disparage the good name and reputation of the Service. The report is also unprofessional and disingenuous. For the avoidance of doubts, the public is to please note that the NAF first received information about the attack on Makwa Village from the Headquarters Operation Sharan Daji (HQ OPSD) at about 1934hrs on Saturday, 27 April 2019, even before the LGA Chairman called the NAF Commander. A Team of NAF Special Forces (SF) personnel was therefore immediately dispatched to Makwa, which is about 12Km off the road into the forest, with barely motorable tracks. As at the time the Bungudu LGA Chairman called, the Commander informed him, without any acrimony or recriminations, that the NAF Team was already on its way to the village. However, by the time the SF Team arrived and surgically stormed the village, to avoid attacking innocent civilians, the bandits had already fled.
It must also be highlighted that the Newspaper displayed gross unprofessionalism in the fact that it did not make any attempt whatsoever to contact the NAF on the issues relating to the incident at Makwa Village before publishing its story. Rather, it chose to rely on a previous interview granted a few days before the incident in Makwa Village. By relying on the earlier interview, which was on a related subject but not particularly addressing the incident of 27 April 2019, Punch Newspapers succeeded in misrepresenting facts.
The NAF finds it rather mischievous that anyone would spread such deliberate misinformation whilst the Service is doing its best to effectively respond to the challenges facing the good people of Zamfara State and its environs. The NAF, as a professional Service, remains committed to ensuring the safety and security of all Nigerians. Accordingly, we shall continue to work assiduously, in synergy with sister Services and other security agencies, to rid the Northwest of all criminal elements. The general public can therefore rest assured that the NAF will not be deterred but will sustain its operations to facilitate a return to normalcy that would enable Nigerians in the area pursue their legitimate aspirations.
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force