In a bid to further boost security in Nasarawa, the State Government has allocated about 100 Hectares of land to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) for the establishment of a Base in Lafia. This was made known today, 1 April 2019, when the Nasarawa State Governor, His Excellency Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, and other top government functionaries from the State, paid a courtesy call on the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, in his Office at Headquarters Nigerian Air Force (HQ NAF).
Speaking during the visit, Governor Al-Malkura stated that he was at HQ NAF as a follow up to the various visits made by the CAS to Nasarawa State at the time the State was beset with security challenges. He recalled how the visit by the CAS, as well as visits by heads of other security agencies, had ensured the restoration of peace and stability to Nasarawa and neighbouring States. He remarked that the NAF and the State had agreed on the need to establish bases in Nasarawa, with 3 different locations identified at the time. The Governor however advocated that, in the immediate term, a NAF Base could be established close to the new Lafia Cargo Airport, which was under construction and at about 80 per cent completion. He reasoned that siting the NAF unit close to the new Airport would enhance security and complement civil flight operations when they commence. While commending the NAF for its efforts in checkmating security challenges in the State and other restive areas in the Country, the Governor stressed that Nassarawa State would continue to provide necessary support to ensure the effective take-off of the NAF Unit for enhanced security in the area.
Responding, the CAS expressed appreciation to the Government and People of Nasarawa State for their continued support and collaboration. He informed the Governor that the NAF has continued to build capacity for more effective and efficient operations that would enhance the national security architecture by bringing security closer to the people. In this regard, he said, the Service had established Quick Response Wings (QRWs) at Agatu in Benue State and Gembu in Taraba State as well as a Combat Search and Rescue Group at Kerang in Plateau State and Quick Response Groups (QRGs) at Owerri in Imo State, Ipetu-Ijesha in Osun State and Gusau in Zamfara State. The CAS reported that the NAF had also recently established a NAF Detachment, with a helipad and other support facilities, at Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State to further boost anti-armed banditry operations in Kaduna State and environs. He emphasized that these units, working in conjunction with other security agencies, were adding value to the security of the States where they are located. “The NAF is no longer about Air Power projection alone. We have also developed capacity for force protection, which has also enhanced our internal security operations capability in order to better protect Nigeria and Nigerians” he said.
Air Marshal Abubakar expressed delight about the new Lafia Cargo Airport, stating that it would not only serve as an alternate airfield for NAF aircraft but also enhance the operations of the QRW which would soon be activated in the State. While thanking the Governor for the allocation of the land, the CAS stated he would send a Team to Nasarawa to determine the requirements for its development. He said the Team would also assess the level of progress of work at the Cargo Airport. He commended Governor Al-Makura for his efforts at ensuring security in Nasarawa State, noting that its proximity to Abuja meant that any insecurity would undoubtedly have an impact on the Federal Capital.
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force