Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, the Chief of the Air Staff, has raised worry over the amount of civilian deaths during air raids in several theaters of operations.
Amao argued that in order to increase the credibility of the Air Forces activities in the nation, steps must be taken to reduce these instances.
According to the punch calculations in 2022, there were five miscalculated airstrike occurrences, which led to the deaths of 78 people and the injuries of 45 locals.
Seven children were killed and five injured while targeting terrorists in the neigbouring Niger Republic during an air strike by the Air Force on February 20, 2022.
A month later, at least six children between the ages of five and 12 years were killed by the Nigerian Air Force air strike in Kuregba community of Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.
One person was killed and 13 injured following an air strike conducted by the Nigerian Air Force at Kunkuna village in Safana Local Government Area of Katsina state on July 7, 2022.
Properties of residents were destroyed in a miscalculated air strike in Kaduna on December 13, 2022
At least 64 people were killed and many injured in an airstrike by a Nigerian Air Force on December 19, 2022, at Mutumji Community in Maru Local Government of Zamfara on December 19, 2022.
The Air Chief said he has set up a committee to investigate past incidents and the circumstances leading to the strikes.
He stated this in the December edition of the official magazine of the Nigerian Air Force, Airman, which was obtained by our correspondent on Friday.
Amao said, “I strongly believe that the efforts to mitigate and respond to civilian harm are a direct reflection of our values as a Service as doing so is a strategic and moral imperative. We must therefore note that taking appropriate measures to minimise civilian casualties can further NAF’s mission objectives; help maintain the support of vulnerable populations; and enhance the legitimacy and sustainability of NAF operations critical to Nigeria’s national security.
“Concerned by the need for extra measures to minimise civilian harm and casualties, as well as take all feasible precautions in the strategies and methods of air attack to be deployed to avoid, or at least minimise civilian collateral damage, I recently instituted a committee of officers to compile all allegations of accidental strikes on civilians as well as investigate the circumstances leading to such strikes.”
He added that he had given the committee specific instructions to interview potential victims as well as local authorities and government representatives in order to make comprehensive suggestions that would lessen the potential harm to civilians in NAF operations in the future.
“We must accept that the need for effective investigations and reviews into civilian harms can help address important questions for affected victims or their families, promote accountability, and allow the NAF to learn valuable lessons for avoiding or mitigating similar harms in the future,” he added.