The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has called for investigation into the circumstances of the detention of a Russian Antonov cargo aircraft, which landed at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport on Saturday, and the alleged presence of former Borno State Governor, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff at the Kano airport while the aircraft was impounded.
We’d earlier reported that the controversial aircraft contained 24 military hardware including a vehicle, helicopters and blades among others. It has however, been released following the conclusion of investigation by Nigeria’s security agencies, which confirmed that the contents of the plane belonged to the French military and was actually headed for N’Djamena, Chad Republic.
In reaction to the development, the pan-Northern socio-cultural organization in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim, in Kaduna yesterday, said: “We call upon the Federal Government to thoroughly investigate the detained Russian aircraft, its contents, why it landed in Kano Airport, its likely connection with the current terrorism ravaging the North and the alleged presence of Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff at the Airport”.
The Forum insisted that “Nigerians demand an urgent explanation in order to reinforce their confidence in the government and to also disabuse their minds on the wild rumors being peddled around of the government complicity in the insurgency.
“Furthermore, ACF urges the Federal Government to exercise caution and fast track its investigation to avoid any diplomatic row with the countries involved in this scandal.
“Arewa Consultative Forum received the news of the detention of a Russian Cargo Aircraft alleged to contain arms and combat helicopters at Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano by the Nigerian military authorities with grave concern and apprehension bearing in mind the insecurity situation in the country.
“The cargo aircraft was said to be carrying two combat helicopters and consignment of weapons on its way to N’Djamena in Tchad and Istres in France but landed in Kano to refuel. However security checks on the aircraft revealed that sealed containers suspected to contain arms and ammunitions were found.
“Recently, there have been wide spread allegations of influx of arms and ammunitions into Nigeria, through our boarders with Tchad and other neighboring Countries which have been a source of serious concern to Nigerians.
“The Boko Haram insurgency which flourishes along some of the border towns with Chad Republic, alleged illegal arms influx through the Chad borders, Chad’s role in the aborted cease fire agreement between Nigeria and Boko Haram insurgents and now the Russian aircraft containing arms allegedly meant for French peacemaking mission in Chad calls to question the sincerity of good neighborliness”, the statement read.