In compliance with presidential directives to move to operational areas in the Northeast and Northwest of the country, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, yesterday, 8 December 2018, undertook an operational visit to Kano to assess the levels of preparedness of the 403 Flying Training School (403 FTS) and 465 Nigerian Air Force Hospital (465 NAFH) to support operations in both theatres. At the 403 FTS, the CAS inspected ongoing reactivation work on 3 NAF L-39ZA aircraft, which is aimed at boosting NAF’s training capacity while also enhancing its air power capability for Counter Insurgency (COIN) operations in the Northeast and anti-armed banditry operations in the Northwest. The CAS also commissioned the newly equipped state-of-the-art Modular Operating Theatre at 465 NAFH. The theatre, which is the first of its kind in Northwest Nigeria, was completed in furtherance of the CAS’ resolve to ensure personnel and their families have access to world-class medical services.
Speaking during the visit, the CAS restated NAF’s commitment to providing its personnel and their families with comprehensive healthcare facilities for enhanced wellbeing. He therefore urged personnel and their families to take maximum advantage of the facilities which had been provided for their benefit. He noted further that, in line with the NAF tradition of giving back to its host communities, the facility would also be open to the good and hospitable people of Kano State. The CAS also reaffirmed the commitment of the Service to periodically reach out to surrounding rural communities to provide them with the much needed preventive healthcare services, including health education.
Air Marshal Abubakar highlighted that his vision for the NAF, upon assumption of office, was to develop a highly professional force for the effective, efficient and timely employment of Air Power in response to Nigeria’s national security imperatives. This, he noted, required having the right structure, equipment, manpower disposition and welfare support system. He acknowledged that the current Federal leadership had facilitated all of these enhancements, thereby empowering the Service to more effectively carry out its constitutional roles. He therefore seized the opportunity to thank the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his continued support to the NAF, which had led to the acquisition of 18 brand new aircraft in the last 3 years; with another 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft and 6 Agusta 109 Power Helicopter Gunships being expected from the United States of America and Italy, respectively. The CAS noted, in particular, that, the NAF has been able to embark on several infrastructural projects aimed at enhancing the welfare of personnel to enable them focus on assigned tasks. These included the establishment of new schools and upgrade of existing ones, provision of new office and residential accommodation in units across the country as well as the establishment of 2 new Reference Hospitals in Bauchi and Port Harcourt, in addition to the establishment of 4 new Cancer Screening Centres and upgrade of medical facilities in NAF Hospitals nationwide. The CAS remarked that the Modular Theatre being commissioned was another of such value additions. He pledged that the NAF would continue to strive for excellence in fulfilling its constitutional roles, in collaboration with sister Services, to provide the necessary security as Nigeria marches on towards greater peace and prosperity.
Speaking earlier, the acting Chief of Medical Services, NAF Headquarters, Air Commodore Mohammed Shaibu, stated that the completion of the Modular Theatre was only made possible due to the dogged determination of the CAS. He noted that the project, which was started about 6 years ago, was neither fully completed nor equipped and therefore could not be put to use. He noted however, that in view of the strategic importance of the hospital in support of COIN Operations in the Northeast, the CAS directed that the Theatre be completed, equipped and put to immediate use, so that injured personnel evacuated from the frontlines could be stabilized and treated in the hospital. The Modular Theatre, which comprises a reception, lecture and recovery rooms, offices and 2 operating suites, is equipped with modern anesthetic machines, operating tables, theatre lamps, C-arm machines and operating microscopes, among others.
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force