President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the gallant pilot of the Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, who successfully ejected from an aircraft that came under “intense ground fire from bandits” in Zamfara State, Northwest, at the weekend.
The President, who was briefed on the successful operation by the nation’s defence forces to rescue the pilot, said he was pained by news of the air crash, according to a presidency statement on Tuesday.
“I was shocked by the devastating news of the air crash but felt much relieved, following the successful ejection by the pilot and his eventual rescue. May the injured pilot recover at the earliest time”, he said.
Bandits shot down the fighter jet while it was returning from a mission in Zamfara and Kaduna States on Sunday afternoon.
Dairo, however, ejected from the aircraft before it crashed and managed to elude the bandits who chased after him on foot until he found refuge at a safe location, according to a NAF statement on Monday.
A statement, issued by Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet,Director of Public Relations and Information of the Nigerian Air Force, explained that “using the cover of darkness and his phone set for navigation, Flight Lieutenant Dairo was able to elude several bandits’ strongholds and maneuvered his way to a Nigerian Army Unit, where he was finally rescued”.