The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, yesterday, 6 November 2018, conducted an inspection tour of the proposed site for a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State. The establishment of the FOB, along with a helicopter landing pad and support facilities, is aimed at enhancing NAF’s response capability in dealing with security threats within the area, working in synergy with other security agencies. The CAS, who was accompanied on the visit by other senior officers from NAF Headquarters, also seized the opportunity to pay a courtesy call on the Emir of Birnin Gwari, Mallam Zubairu Jibril Mai Gwari II, at his Palace.
Speaking during the courtesy call, the CAS expressed appreciation to the Emir for receiving him and his entourage at the palace. He noted that the NAF has been extremely fortunate within the past 3 years under the leadership of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, who had facilitated the purchase of 18 brand new aircraft for the Service and also provided resources for the reactivation of 13 hitherto unserviceable aircraft; with another 2 in the process of being reactivated. He stated that these interventions had made it possible for the NAF to operate in multiple theatres simultaneously, with aircraft deployed for operations against Boko Haram Terrorists in the North East as well as against armed bandits in the North West. Moreover, the CAS observed that NAF aircraft were also deployed for internal security duties under Operation Save Haven in Jos and Operation Whirl Stroke in Makurdi, among others. In addition, he mentioned that the NAF had established Quick Response Wings (QRWs) at Nguroje in Taraba State and Agatu in Benue State, with special forces personnel deployed at these locations, and would soon activate another QRW at Doma in Nasarawa State.
Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar noted that all these deployments had enabled the NAF to more effectively and efficiently employ air power in response to national security imperatives. He emphasized that the need to better engage the evolving security situation in the Zamfara-Katsina-Kaduna States Corridor informed the decision to establish an FOB in Birnin Gwari. He noted that, while fixed wing aircraft would continue to operate from Kaduna and Katsina, and other helicopters operate from the helipad at Gusau, the FOB would allow for helicopters to operate from Birnin Gwari to ensure swifter response, enhanced coordination with other security agencies and even more effective execution of air operations against the armed bandits in the area. The CAS ended by specially thanking the Emir and good people of Birnin Gwari for the support and cooperation extended to the NAF and other security agencies operating in the area.
Responding, the Emir of Birnin Gwari, expressed delight in finally meeting the CAS in person. He stated that the visit of the CAS further reinforced the unwavering commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari towards ensuring peace and stability in the Northwest and indeed the entire country, having previously also received the Chief of Army Staff and the Inspector General of Police at his Palace. He therefore commended the Federal and State Governments for their tireless efforts at ensuring that the security challenges in Birnin Gwari are adequately addressed. He said he was delighted that the NAF was establishing an FOB in the town and pledged the total support of the Emirate for the FOB. He remarked that he would be willing to donate as much land as the NAF would require to build a full-fledged Base, if needed.
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force