The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has said there is no intelligence report suggesting that the abducted Chibok girls are in Sambisa Forest.
Abubakar spoke during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja on Saturday.
Asked if the NAF had any intelligence on whether the Chibok girls were in the Sambisa Forest or not, Abubakar said:
“Honestly we don’t.
“That is the truth of the matter.
“Even if you see women that are dressed in hijab, how are you sure they are women, that they are not men?
“It is only when you get there and they remove the hijab that you now realise that they are men and they have their rifles.
“There is no credible intelligence that will specifically tell you that these girls are here.”
Abubakar said the NAF flew its planes daily with the hope of sighting the Chibok girls, adding that the military, like other Nigerians, was passionate about them.
He said about 50 per cent of the NAF flying missions in counter-insurgency operations were devoted to Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance.
He added: “There is no day that the sun rises and sets that we do not go out hoping to see these girls.
“From January this year to August 17, we flew 2,600 hours.
“About 50 per cent of that was Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance.
“We are hoping that through the intelligence, we will be able to capture the movement of those girls, we will be able to locate what we consider legitimate targets.”
The NAF boss however dismissed Boko Haram’s latest claim that some of the Chibok girls had been killed by the NAF during air raids as cheap propaganda.
He said there was no way bodies of people killed by bombardment could be intact as shown in the video.
He said: “Even the IED (improvised explosive device) that they (the sect) developed, have you ever seen a complete body together after an attack on any location?”
“These guys are just trying to whip up sentiment because they know that every Nigerian is concerned about the girls.”
Abubakar said although there was no military operation without collateral damage, the NAF was doing everything possible to determine legitimate targets.
He said Sambisa forest, which is about 60,000 square kilometres, was a difficult terrain, especially for the land forces.
He explained that equipment could get stuck in the forest during the rainy season.
He added that with what the NAF had seen from its reconnaissance, it was difficult to say that the place was still occupied.
Abubakar said with the logistics base of the sect destroyed by the NAF, it would be easier for land forces to move into the forest during the dry season.