Every Setback Is a Setup for a Come-back, Chief of Air Staff Tells Airmen in Port Harcourt

Following the unfortunate crash of a Nigerian Air Force MI-35P attack helicopter in Port Harcourt on Friday, 1 December 2023, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar travelled to Port Harcourt to assess the situation, visit the crew and encourage the personnel of 115 Special Operations Group (115 SOG).

While addressing the personnel of 115 SOG, Air Marshal Abubakar encouraged them to see the setback as a setup for a resilient comeback, channelling efforts toward thwarting the activities of economic saboteurs and countering oil theft.

This is contained in a statement signed on Sunday by Edward Gabkwet
Air Commodore Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force and made available to Journalists reads in parts:

According to him, “You must therefore never be discouraged as the hopes of millions of Nigerians rest on our shoulders. The realization of these aspirations is hinged on our ability to combat all forms of criminality that threaten our peace and stability.”

He went on to inform them to see air accidents or mishaps as impetus to propel all NAF personnel towards seeking improved safety management measures, while remaining undeterred and focused in tackling the myriads of security threats facing the nation.

According to the CAS, “Times like these are a sad reminder of the inherent risks in military aviation, especially when flying activities, occasioned by our current security challenges, have tremendously increased. As we continue to fly intensively, incidents are bound to occur. Nevertheless, we must continue to ensure we minimize the risk factors as reasonably practicable.”

Air Marshal Abubakar also commended the crew for the professional manner in which they handled the emergency situation they found themselves.

“Your actions were commendable and a decisive factor in mitigating the extent of damage to public property and loss of lives” he noted.

Speaking further, the CAS stated that 115 SOG has been well known for its gallantry and fighting spirit and the mere presence of the MI-35P helicopters on the battlefield has been a game changer. He went on to state that the helicopters have, over the years, continued to strike fear deep into the hearts of terrorists and other criminals while at the same time boosting the morale of surface forces.

While extending President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s appreciation for their sacrifices, Air Marshal Abubakar assured them of their welfare and other needs to ensure they effectively carry out their assigned duties. He also informed them that he had directed for the immediate commencement of the accident investigation, “So that we can learn exactly what happened and prevent future occurrences.”

Earlier, the CAS had visited the 5 crew members of the ill-fated aircraft and directed the Commander of the Medical Centre to ensure they received the utmost attention required.

Prime Times

Abdulrahman Aliagan is an Abuja-based seasoned Journalist with close to two decades of uninterrupted practice in Journalism, a PR Expert, a Development Coach and a Media Crisis Management Consultant.
A holder of Bachelor degree in History, a graduate of International Institute of Journalism, IIJ, Jahi, Abuja, he is well trained in various aspects of modern day Journalism including Digital Media and Solution Journalism.
Aliagan is a member of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and is currently the National Secretary of the Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ).

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