Abuja, Nov. 16, 2016 (NAN) The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Wednesday restated its commitment to protect the territorial integrity of the country against any form of aggression.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said this in his opening remarks at the NAF 2016 Operations Seminar at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja.
The theme of the conference is: “Developing Effective Airpower Responses to National Security Challenges in Nigeria’’.
Abubakar said that the subversive activities of insurgents and militants appeared to pose challenges to the political stability of the country and the desire to become a prosperous nation.
This, he said, had called for more commitment to the protection of the nation’s territorial integrity for the peaceful co-existence of all.
“Since the advent of this administration, we have critically looked at every aspect of our air operations. From coordination with land forces, to logistics support, to platform reactivation efforts and to welfare of personnel.
“We have identified the critical role of training and retraining, reactivation of platforms, developing capacity in force protection, and enhancement of personnel morale through the provision of decent shelter for all,’’ he said.
The CAS said further that in order to ensure optimal performance, the service had trained over 700 personnel of different specialties in several parts of the world in the last eighteen months.
“Today we have Fg Offrs as captains, Co-pilots, Flight Engineers and IPs on the C-130.
“We have 40 pilots training in different parts of the world, while 27 are training in the country,’’ he said.
According to him, NAF has expanded the infrastructure in its recruits training school to accommodate 2,500 recruits at a time as against 500 recruits in the past.
Abubakar explained that the efforts were necessitated by the expanded role NAF was playing in the counter-insurgency operations in different parts of the country.
He said in order to deal with the country’s increasing internal security challenges, four new Regiment Groups under the SOC located in Gusau, Owerri, Bauchi and Ipetu Ijesa would soon take off.
“We have also established NAF AWC in Makurdi to build the capacity in understanding air operations.
“NAF has also brought in 14 additional aircraft that were grounded for one maintenance reason or the other, into flying status,’’ he said.
The CAS also said that NAF had trained 325 personnel as Special Forces personnel with skills such as Anti-Hijacking and Counter-Terrorism.
He urged the participants to utilise the knowledge they acquired from the seminar to improve on their performance and the service generally.
The Special Guest of Honour, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, expressed delight to be part of the NAF family.
The CDS was represented by the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas.
Olonisakin commended the Chief of Air Staff for his outstanding performance so far, especially in security and the service assistance in the fight against terrorism in the North-East.
“The peculiarity of NAF operational space in terms of its ubiquity makes it an indispensable party to any military operations.
“As such, the role of NAF toward the overall development of any nation, particularly in safeguarding the nation’s territorial integrity cannot be overemphasised,’’ he said. (NAN)