HEADLINE | Posted: Monday, July 19, 2021

How bandits shot down NAF fighter jet, pilot Dairo survives

Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo with the Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, and other military officials.

By Kazeem Ugtbodaga

A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) pilot has survived after bandits shot down the fighter jet on the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna State.

Reports on Sunday said a NAF fighter jet battling bandits had crashed in Kaduna, with details sketchy.

But on Monday, the NAF issued a statement confirming the crash, saying that Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, the pilot of the fighter jet survived.

Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, in a statement said the pilot survived after he successfully ejected from the aircraft.

According to him, on 18 July, 2021, at about 12.45 pm, a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet aircraft, returning from a successful air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna State, came under intense enemy fire which led to its crash in Zamfara State.

“Luckily, the gallant pilot of the aircraft, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, successfully ejected from the aircraft,’ the statement said.

Dairo said using his survival instincts, the pilot, who came under intense ground fire from the bandits, was able to evade them and sought refuge in nearby settlements awaiting sunset.

According to the statement Dairo was able to escape from several bandits’ strongholds by using the cover of darkness and his phone set for navigation and maneuvered his way to a Nigerian Army Unit, where he was finally rescued.

NAF stated that it remained committed to fulfilling President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate to it despite the crash.

It said the willingness, readiness, and tested ability of the NAF remained unshaken and unwavering as it continued to carry out its assigned roles.