Nigeria was stricken with grief on Friday, April 2, as the feared news filtered in that the missing Alpha Jet, NAF475, had crashed and the pilots on board had died in the wreck.
Though the news was a sad one, it did not surprise many Nigerians. When a jet goes off the radar, it does not hang in the air. It means the plane has crashed.
The saddest part of the incident was not the crashing of the flagship warplane, but the fatality of gallant pilots. The death of an officer is not only a loss to the family, but a huge loss of a government investment considering the quantum of resources it takes to train an officer of the Nigerian military.
The Humanitarian Times feels it is imperatives Nigeria begins to worry about how highly trained officers and their soldiers are dying every day.
May the souls of our gallant soldiers who had paid the supreme sacrifices rest in peace.
But this article is not all about the needless deaths our military records in this meaningless war. The Humanitarian Times is, for now, focusing on the trending video that came out Friday afternoon in which the members of the armed opposition group were seen celebrating at the site where the crashed Alpha Jet’s remains was found.
Looking critically at the 7 minutes and 30 seconds long video, one could see how the insurgents were videoed shooting and chanting Arabic slogans of victory up to the time the supposed Alpha Jet was shown nosing down and then suddenly, it exploded and hastened down finally with fire and a dark smoke trailing its ultimate trajectory.
Then, an English speaking terror leader was shown in more stable filming celebrating the mishap of the Alpha jet while alluding to the ill-fated crash as an act of God even as he said the only way out to avoid further recurrence is to “fear Allah”.
Then the next footage showed another armed insurgent whose face did not appear as the camera that filmed him edged out his face. The man spoke in Hausa while pointing at what appeared to be the burnt body of one of the pilots.
“As you can see, this is the pilot of the jet that was sent to come and wage war on servants of God. But as God would have it, he fell from the sky and died. If you don’t repent, this is how you’d all die Insha Allah.”
The two speakers in the Video did not, at any point, say they brought down the jet, rather they alluded it to a favourable act of God.
The second speaker was more specific when he said the pilot and his plane “fell from the sky”. It is very unlike Boko Haram, not to claim credit detailing exactly how they achieved their so-called victory.
When the insurgents fired motorised bullets into Maiduguri in February, the leader of the terror group, Abubakar Sheka
The entire video seemed a propaganda attempt to confuse the world about their influence. That was why the early part of the video showed a group of armed young men firing AK47 into a blank target in bush while moving in circles on trucks and bike even as they tried to remain within the focus of the camera. All through the shooting, there was no any sign of counter firing from the opposite side.
When the video showed a jet nosing down before it eventually exploded, there wasn’t any sign that it was hit by the insurgent.
The Humanitarian Times had earlier did an in-depth reporting of how credible military sources said one of the pilots had informed the communication tower that they needed to “eject”. The reason for that last-minute decision was not clearly stated but it suggested that the pilots may have lost air control at that moment.
At the scene of the crash, only one pilot has seen whom even the Boko Haram speakers referenced in their speeches.
It is not yet certain if the second missing pilot had ejected before the crash.
The reason for the Alpha Jet (NAF475)/ crash may remain a mystery for a long time to come because the blackbox which normally records such technical details may have been tampered with by the early callers at the scene of the wrecked jet. As a matter of fact some of the insurgents were shown in the video using screw drivers to to remove certain gadgets from the remains of the jet.
Some experts have alluded to a likely case of technical fault in the jet that may have caused it to crash after exploding mid-air.