Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
In a move aimed at checkmating any possible security breach in the five South-east states, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) wednesday in Enugu pledged to deploy four attacking and one training aircraft in the zone.
The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, who spoke during a ground breaking and foundation laying ceremony of air force training command complex head quarters in Enugu also reaffirmed the readiness of the NAF to tackle the plethora of security challenges in the country.
While pledging the preparedness of the NAF and other security agencies to ensure that every part of the country was safe and secured as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, the CAS noted that before long, Boko Haram activities will become a thing of the past.
He said the essence of Air Force training command complex in Enugu was to reposition the Nigerian Air Force to tackle security problems in the country.
He further disclosed that the Force had planned to increase the recruitment of officers from 1,000 personnel in a year to 1500 personnel in every six months.
He therefore expressed satisfaction with the increase of the number of aircrafts from 15 to 18 aircrafts and promised to use is to beef up the security issues in the country.
In his address, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State appealed to the NAF to allow the state government take over the forceâ€™s piece of land located near the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu to be used by an indigenous airline, Air Peace Limited for the establishment of a world standard Aircraft Maintenance Facility in the state.
He said the appeal was in line with the state governmentâ€™s aspiration to create an aviation hub that would support the policies of the federal government towards the development of the Aviation Sector. The governor disclosed that the appeal was sequel to an earlier request to the Nigerian Air Force by his administration, adding that the state government had promised to give the Force â€œan alternative piece of land of equal or even larger size in Enugu in exchange.â€
Emphasising the importance of the proposed Aircraft Maintenance Facility towards the economic development of the state and the country at large, Governor Ugwuanyi stressed that â€œin granting this request, the NAF would be making yet another outstanding contribution to the development of the nationâ€™s aviation sector in addition to its traditional roles.â€
He, however, commended the federal government for its efforts towards ensuring that the Armed Forces are well equipped to combat the security challenges facing the country.
He thanked the Chief of Air Staff and the hierarchy of the NAF, for the decision to site the headquarters of the new command in Enugu, disclosing that it â€œwill undoubtedly help to reinforce the atmosphere of peace and security in the state and which in turn, stimulates rapid socio-economic development.
â€œAs a government, we have always enjoyed a very cordial working relationship and strategic partnership with the NAF through its formations and establishments in the stateâ€, Ugwuanyi said, while reassuring the force of his administrationâ€™s continued support and cooperation towards the success of the command. The governor gave credit to the air force and other security agencies in the state for the enviable status Enugu has earned as â€œone of the safest and most secure states in the country.â€