The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has charged Branch Chiefs, Air Officers Commanding, Commanders and other senior Nigerian Air Force (NAF) officers to be bold, courageous and focused in carrying out their constitutional responsibilities. He urged them not to be discouraged by the death of the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, but rather be more resilient while redoubling their efforts in safeguarding the territorial integrity of Nigeria and ensuring that all law abiding citizens go about their daily affairs without fear. The CAS stated this yesterday, 19 December 2018, while flagging-off the Fourth Quarter CAS’ Conference at the Headquarters NAF (HQ NAF) Abuja.
Air Marshal Abubakar, who expressed shock over the attack on the former CDS, noted that the incident was a heinous crime which should not be accepted in any civilized society. He disclosed that the NAF had already commenced investigations into the matter and was working closely with other relevant security agencies to ensure that the perpetrators of the dastardly act are brought to justice. The CAS noted that the NAF in the past three and half years had, on its part, continued to work tirelessly to eliminate gaps that had existed in the Nigerian security architecture for several decades. He explained that the NAF was doing its part to build the capacity of NAF Regiment and Special Forces personnel to bridge the gap between force projection and force protection. He noted that the recent graduation of 769 personnel from the NAF Regiment Training Centre Kaduna was a testament to this fact, as these personnel had been posted to units across the country to enhance security. These were in addition to the 300 Special Forces personnel already deployed to Benue State under Operation WHIRL STROKE and 300 deployed to Zamfara State under Operation SHARAN DAJI to deal with the security challenges in the Northwest and Northcentral parts of the country, respectively.
Furthermore, the CAS noted that, with the support of Federal Government, the NAF has been able to raise its serviceability status of operable aircraft from 36%, in 2015, to between 78% and 82%, in 2018 which is unprecedented in the history of the Service. He stated that the NAF had also commenced local Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) of 3 NAF Alpha Jet aircraft at the 407 Air Combat Training Group (407 ACTG) Kainji, which would further boost aircraft availability for the conduct of air operations. He also revealed that the NAF had successfully recovered one Alpha Jet aircraft, NAF 476, from the United States of America. The CAS remarked that the aircraft, which arrived Nigeria on 6 December 2018, would soon be deployed for operations in the Northeast. He noted furthermore that the NAF had provided refuelling facilities at Gusau in Zamfara State and Katsina in Katsina State and has commenced the construction of a helipad at Brinin Gwari in Kaduna State in order to improve NAF’s ability to respond to threats in the Northwest of Nigeria. He explained that all of these would enhance NAF’s air power employment capability in the various Theatres of Operation. The CAS used the opportunity to reiterate that security is everybody’s business. He therefore encouraged all Nigerians to continue to assist security agencies by providing useful information that would help in the execution of operations. He assured Nigerians that the NAF would continue to do its best to ensure the security of all Nigerians.
The CAS Conference is a quarterly meeting of Principal Staff Officers and field commanders which affords NAF leadership the opportunity to critically assess the performance of the Service in previous quarters with a view to evolving strategies for improvement. The Conference equally provides an avenue to obtain feedback from various field commanders while also keeping them abreast of the policy direction of HQ NAF.
Air Commodore
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force