A pall of disaster last Tuesday, January 17, 2017 enveloped the country when scores of Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) died as a result of ill-fated bombing of the camp by the Nigerian Air Force plane. Aside the dead IDPs, others on the ground when the incident happened equally lost their lives. Up till now, there had not been accurate figure of the dead. This is unprecedented in the annals of the Air Force or Nigeria as a whole.
Some Nigerians were quick to label the unfortunate incident as a human error. Human error where about 100 hapless people lost their lives in one fell swoop. We cry foul! Investigation into the unfortunate incident is yet to start; so saying the incident is a human error is ridiculous and puerile. The IDPs had more than they bargained for on the day of the incident. While battling to survive the atrocity heaped on them by the Boko Haram without food and shelter, they were rail-roaded to their early graves. Very sad indeed. Among the others killed were some soldiers and members of International Red Cross on humanitarianism.
Reports had it that the plane dropped about three bombs on the IDPs according to an affected victim on his sick bed.
We shudder to imagine how a plane pilot cannot differentiate an IDPs camp from an assembly of Boko Haram fighters. People said the IDPs camp is farther from any Boko Haram enclave. A pilot who knows his onions cannot just begin to drop bombs indiscriminately. That clearly shows that some if not most of our pilots are not proficient and professional. This clearly calls to question their eligibility and skillfulness on their job.
No matter what anybody may say on the incident we assert categorically that the Nigerian Air Force is unequivocally culpable and guilty of manslaughter. The culprit pilot should be adequately punished for this colossal human loss.
We condemn in its totality this avoidable but sad incident. The Federal Government should immediately begin investigation into this incident with a view to apportioning blames to whoever is culpable. Air Force, nay the armed forces members should be more security-conscious in their daily routine activities to prevent recurrence of this magnitude in the future.
It is not out of place that we suggest that aircraft pilots should start to undergo some psychiatric test as from now to ascertain their health status and fitness before flying. The government should adequately compensate the families of the victims of this incident, while also it should be responsible for the treatment of the injured. Nothing can be more reassuring to the injured and Nigerian citizens as a whole.
It is cheering to learn that a high-power presidential delegation had visited the scene of the accident and had visited the injured in the hospital. Much still needs to be done in the recruitment of armed forces personnel vis-à-vis the Nigerian Air Force.
Recruitment should be thorough and proficient to ensure good people are engaged to manage our security and allied services.
The harrowing incident should be the first and last in the annals of the Nigerian Air Force and by extension the Armed Forces. There should be no cases of shooting in error or bombing in error forthwith or accidental discharge by the police. The incident is one too many.
Infractions such as this by the Nigerian Air Force, extra-judicial killings by the Police, killing of innocent civilians during military operations should forthwith attract stiff sanctions from the authorities to serve as a deterrent to kill-happy operatives of our armed forces and the Police.
Reports had it recently that the death toll in this incident has reached 170. This is unacceptable to say the least.