The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has called for a full investigation into the alleged arrest of a helicopter supplying arms and food to bandits in some North-west states.
The National Publicity Secretary of ACF, Emmanuel Yawe, made the demand in a statement on Monday.
A former Nigerian Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar had earlier denied a report by some online media platforms linking him to a helicopter said to have been sighted supplying arms and food items to bandits in Niger State.
The retired army general described the reports as “false, unfounded” and fake news.
However, many residents of Kagara in the Rafi Local Government area of Abubakar’s home, Niger State, had claimed sighting a helicopter supplying arms and food items to the armed bandits terrorising the area.
One of the helicopters reportedly crashed in ‘Pangu Gari’, a town on the outskirts of Kagara town, in Rafi Local Government Area, many residents said.
Rafi Local Government Area is at the boundary of Niger and the restive Birnin Gwara LGA in Kaduna and is one of the council areas worst hit by armed banditry, forcing many peasants to flee their farming communities in the area.
Reacting to the reports, Mr Yawe said “Early in March this year, at the height of the kidnapping of students of the Jangebe Government Girls Secondary School in Zamfara, the Federal Government slammed a ban of flights over the state.
“In reaction, our National Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbe, issued a statement calling for the ban to be extended to states such as Borno, Taraba, Benue, Yobe where there were rumours that arms, foodstuffs and other supplies were being dropped for bandits by a mysterious helicopter, the forum said.
“Today, there are various accounts that a helicopter that has been used to drop supplies for the criminals has been arrested.
“The accounts are rather confusing, with the rather scandalous accusation that a former Head of State, General Abubakar Abdulsalami is the owner of the aircraft.
“The General has since dismissed the rumour that he owns it.
“We have diligently followed these sordid revelations in the media. The Arewa Consultative Forum is convinced that there is a need for an open and transparent investigation on the orders of the President, Commander in Chief, Muhammadu Buhari.
“We hope the result of this investigation will clear whatever doubts there are about righting our security challenges.”(Premium Times)