Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, yesterday said more troops would be deployed to the battleground of the Northeast to reinforced the gains of the last four months.
The air force chief, who said since January till date, over 33 Boko Haram enclaves were destroyed in air operations in the North-east region, said he was in Maiduguri to prepare ground for the deployment.
Abubakar made the disclosure in Maiduguri during the inauguration of projects executed by the air force at the Air Taskforce of Operation Lafiya Dole.
He said he was in Maiduguri on operational visit and to critically appraise the Nigerian Air Force operations at the theatre of war in the first quarter of 2020, noting that his visit was also to identify if there are difficulties and gaps as well as to find out if the troops were able to achieve what the force has set out to achieve at the beginning of the year.
The CAS told journalists: “I want to tell you that from the briefing I have received, we have made very substantial progress-destroyed 33 Boko Haram enclaves and flew over 1,600 hours. Also, the environment is very conducive now.
“I have seen the expansion in terms of accommodation and in terms of other welfare structures that are required, and the serviceability of aircrafts which is being achieved with the relocation of the aircraft hangar from Minna to Maiduguri has improved in Maiduguri harsh weather.
“The security challenges being faced by our country are obstacles to our development that can only be surmounted if we remain resolute in the fight against insurgency and other forms of criminality.
“I, however, make bold to say that we have so far confronted these malicious elements head-on, and for that, I am proud of you all-gallant officers and men of the Nigerian Air Force.
“The Nigerian Air Force, through the Air Taskforce of Operation Lafiya Dole, has continued to perform very critical roles in providing the much needed air support required for ground operations.
“In pursuit of the Nigerian Air Force’s constitutional roles, and also in line with my vision for the NAF, I have constantly sought, not only to evolve strategies that would enable the Service adequately project air power to effectively and deal with prevalent security threats, but to also see that personnel welfare is given utmost priority.”
According to CAS, “In line with my vision, my administration will continue to do the best we can to ensure that accommodation problems are eradicated in the NAF. As we inaugurate these projects today, I urge you all to utilise the facilities with a high sense of responsibility.”
He, however, expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for his support to the Nigerian Air Force towards the achievement of its desired air power goals.
The Commander of Air Taskforce, Operation Lafiya Dole, Air Commodore Precious Amadi, had earlier thanked the Chief of Air Staff for always making it a priority to visit Maiduguri, and for initiating new projects to make personnel in the frontline more convenient.