Instituting a robust maintenance culture for the sustenance of platforms and equipment serviceability is an important part of the policy thrust of the current Leadership of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF). This imperative has received another boost with the successful in-house conduct of 400 hours scheduled maintenance inspection on an F-7 fighter trainer aircraft by engineers and technicians of the 131 Engineering Group (131 Engr Gp) Makurdi. This was revealed yesterday, 7 August 2018, when the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, conducted an operational visit to NAF Base Makurdi, and the proposed site for the 21 Quick Response Wing (21 QRW) in Agatu, Benue State. The CAS, who was accompanied by other senior officers from NAF Headquarters, was received by the Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao.
While briefing the CAS, the Commander 131 Engr Gp, Air Commodore Pius Oahimire, stated that the conduct of such a high level maintenance inspection by NAF personnel, without foreign assistance, was a historic achievement. He noted that the feat had only been made possible through the current NAF Leadership’s intensive human capacity development initiatives which had empowered the technicians with the necessary skills and confidence to do the job. He therefore thanked the CAS for creating the enabling environment that facilitated the realization of the feat including the provision of necessary resources and approval of special allowances for the aircraft technicians involved in the inspection. Speaking further, the Commander stated that the in-house inspection had cost the NAF N3 Million; whereas over N30 Million would have been required if done by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or an external maintenance repair facility. The 400 hours scheduled inspection was completed in 3 weeks and involved the removal, servicing, testing and re-installation of the aircraft engine and other major components.
During the operational visit, the CAS also inspected the water treatment facility in NAF Base Makurdi which was being renovated and expanded to improve water supply to residents. The on-going work, now at about 75 per cent completion, involved increasing the reservoir capacity from 450,000 cubic litres to 1.35 Million cubic litres as well as overhaul of surface supply tanks and replacement of reticulation pipes. When completed, water supply to the Base would be boosted by over 100 per cent. The CAS later proceeded to Agatu to inspect ongoing renovation work at the proposed base site for the 21 QRW, where he expressed satisfaction with the progress and gave further directives on additional works to be done. The 21 QRW was established to enhance NAF’s response capabilities in dealing with internal security threats along the Benue-Nasarawa corridor. Before departing from Makurdi, Air Marshal Abubakar held a fruitful interactive session with officers, airmen and airwomen of NAF units in Makurdi. The CAS and other senior officers have since returned to Abuja.
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force