The Oasis Reporters
December 26, 2019
A northern based newspaper that has lashed out against Punch newspaper editorial for referring to President Muhammadu Buhari as Maj. Gen. Buhari and his government as a “regime”, has published another article about a northerner,
Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Alkali Mamu with a caption, “His days as Jonathan’s man”.
As a pro North, pro Muslim and pro Buhari newspaper that was in the forefront in publishing articles that largely demonized former president Jonathan but would suppress any article or writer overtly critical of President Buhari, publishing such an article inadvertently cast ex President Jonathan as liberal minded and was not ethnically minded or religiously biased in his choice of principal officers.
It wrote that “a former Chief of Administration at the Nigerian Air Force headquarters, Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Alkali Mamu, had a few years ago revealed during his trial before an FCT High Court, how foreign mercenary pilots were engaged to combat Boko Haram terrorists when they disguised as instructors based on directives by Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), former National Security Adviser to former president Jonathan, Daily Trust recalls.
While giving evidence before the court on October 13, 2017, as reported in the October 14, 2017 edition of Daily Trust, Mamu told the court that the office of the NSA in 2014 decided to assist the Nigerian Air Force by engaging the mercenaries due to “the terrible performance of our armed forces at the height of the war against Boko Haram towards the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2014″.
He said he was thereafter ordered by the Chief of Air Staff to liaise with one Hima Abubakar of Societe D’Equipments Internationaux Nigeria Limited, who had been contracted by the office of the NSA to get the mercenaries to help the military in the war against the insurgents.
“Abubakar identified three mercenary fighter pilots, soldiers of fortune and veterans of many wars who were willing to take up this job,” Mamu had told the court, adding that he facilitated the medical examination and process entry visas into Nigeria for the three Ukrainian mercenary pilots that were brought in to fly the MI35P helicopters. He added that due to the undercover nature of the assignments, transactions and documentations were mainly “in pseudo or disguised form.”
At a point during the court proceeding, Mamu told the court that the issues being revealed would “expose Nigeria’s contravention of the United Nations Charter of armed conflicts especially Resolution 44/34.”
He further told the court that one of the mercenary fighter pilots, Captain Chup Vasyl, died after he crash landed while on a night combat, adding that the military had to classify the cause of death of Vasyl as “a result of car crash” after paying $100,000 to the family of the deceased as compensation”
The story by Daily Trust revealed high level transactions of high financial value, carried out by Northerners, all Muslims, on behalf of a president of Southern extraction, who is a Christian.
Inadvertently, it shows that Jonathan was not an ethnic champion, but a thorough bred nationalist who believes in building a cohesive and united nation.