The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has denied trending news that the wreckage of its missing fighter jet, as well as the body of one of the pilots, has been found in Bama, Borno State.
NAF spokesperson Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet in a statement on Monday, urged members of the public to disregard the news.
He added that efforts were still ongoing to locate and recover the missing jets as well as the pilots who were on board the crashed jet.
Naija News understands that some earlier reports quoting military sources had claimed that the wreckage of the Nigerian Air Force fighter jet that went missing last week may have been found in Bama, Borno State.
It claimed that the wrecked jet was found with the body of one of the pilots, Flight Lieutenant Chapele Ebiakpo, intact.
It, however, said the body of the other pilot, Flight Lieutenant John Abolarinwa, is still being searched for, explaining that troops on the ground have been asked to intensify their search.
But Gabkwet in a reaction, accused the originators of the report of spreading false information, noting that NAF wasn’t contacted for verification before the story was published.
The NAF statement reads: “The attention of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has been drawn to an online publication on the unfortunate crash involving the NAF Alpha Jet aircraft earlier reported missing.
The report, with the caption, “Wreckage of Missing NAF Alpha Jet 475 Found in Bama ,” claimed that the missing aircraft as well as the body of one of the missing pilots have been found.
The report, which quoted “an authoritative military source” was not only misleading but absolutely at variance with known ethos of the Journalism profession as the Medium never made effort to contact the NAF to verify the story before the said publication.
He added that just as NAF has been updating the public since the fighter jet went off the radar during an official engagement against Boko Haram insurgents, the NAF would continue to provide information and give updates on developments.”
He, therefore, urged the public to disregard the information that the fighter jet has been located in Bama, noting that search and rescue efforts are still in progress.
“From the day control lost radar contact with the aircraft on 31 March 2021, the NAF as a professional fighting force has been keeping members of the public abreast and updated on the missing aircraft and combined efforts of the NAF and Nigerian Army(NA) search and rescue team to locate the crashed aircraft. It is therefore sad and disheartening that such an unverified story could be published without any effort to confirm its veracity from the NAF. It is not in dispute that the media as the watchdog of the society have the right to continually inform the public. It should however be done within the acceptable dictates of the noble journalism profession.
“While search and rescue efforts are being sustained until the wreckage of the aircraft is found, the NAF wishes to reassure the general public that it shall be informed of any update as regards the missing aircraft. Members of the press are thus requested to always be circumspect and exercise restraint in their reportage and endeavour to always clarify issues before going to press. The general public should therefore disregard the unverified publication on the missing Alpha jet aircraft by the aforementioned newspaper”.
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu on Monday declared that members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) carried out the attack in Imo State.
He said in a statement on Monday that ESN, which is the security arm of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was responsible for the attack on the Imo State Police Command headquarters and the Owerri Correctional Prison.