The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has commended the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE for its sustained air operations that have resulted in the destruction of several terrorists’ hideouts and neutralization of scores of their fighters in the Northeast Theatre. The CAS made this commendation today, 30 November 2019, in an interactive session with air and ground crews of the ATF during an operational visit to Maiduguri. While in Maiduguri, the CAS also commissioned some newly constructed residential accommodation for personnel and undertook a visit to the Dalori Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp to inspect facilities at the NAF Level II Hospital as well as assess the conduct of the school feeding programme.

Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, the CAS said the newly constructed and furnished block of 10 single bedroom flats and 2 blocks of 6 x 2 bedroom flats for officers, like the many other projects executed in Maiduguri in the last 4 years, were part of his resolve to emplace adequate infrastructure that would enhance personnel welfare for improved professional performance. He said this was premised on the fact that an average NAF personnel, who is often entrusted with the care of equipment worth millions of dollars, would always put in his best when he knows that his welfare and that of his family are well catered for. He said the NAF would therefore continue to create the enabling environment through the provision of necessary infrastructure and other welfare packages to enable personnel, especially those in operational areas, effectively accomplish their assigned tasks. In that regard, he disclosed that the Headquarters ATF Medical Centre, along with its Cancer Screening Centre, would soon be upgraded with additional facilities, such as new laboratories and operating theatres to provide better services which, he said, would continue to be available to members of the host communities and IDPs.

While appealing to the beneficiaries to ensure the facilities are properly maintained, the CAS emphasized that they must reciprocate by building on the successes so far recorded in the fight against insurgency by ramping-up the momentum. He added that they must however remain vigilant and be conscious of personal security as well as the security of equipment and environment, while at the same time obeying lawfully constituted authority. “You must redouble your efforts to ensure peace is fully restored to the Northeast to enable people go about their normal activities, without fear of harm or molestation”, he added.

The CAS noted that the modest achievements so far recorded by the Service would not have been possible without the unflinching support of the Federal Government. He therefore expressed his gratitude to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his immense support to the NAF. He equally thanked the National Assembly, especially the Chairmen and members of the Senate and House Committees on Air Force, as well as the Government and people of Borno State for their encouragement to the NAF in its operations.

Earlier in his welcome address, the ATF Commander, Air Commodore Precious Amadi, stated that the commissioning ceremony was yet another demonstration of leadership that gives special attention to the motivation of the personnel through the provision of conducive work and home environments for enhanced professional performance. He said the projects would not only boost the morale of the personnel of the ATF, but also enhance their service delivery in the fight against insurgency and terrorism.

Before proceeding to Dalori, the CAS inspected some ongoing projects at the NAF Base Maiduguri that were nearing completion. These include the Ammunition Depot, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers’ (SNCO’s) Mess as well as an all-purpose Hangar, which was relocated from the 013 Quick Response Force location in Minna, Niger State, for use in Maiduguri to enhance the maintenance of aircraft under the ATF.

After inspecting facilities at the Dalori IDP Camp, the CAS expressed delight that the Level II Hospitals established by the NAF at Dalori and Bama in 2015 and 2016, respectively, had continued to effectively provide healthcare services to those affected by the insurgency. He said the NAF would sustain the services as well as the school feeding programme that has been providing daily meals for over 1,000 pupils in the 2 IDP Camps.

Dignitaries present at the commissioning ceremony and visit to the Dalori Camp included the Chief of Staff to the Borno State Governor and the Chairperson Borno State Emergency Management Agency as well as Branch Chiefs from Headquarters NAF, Theatre Commander Operation LAFIYA DOLE along with many other senior officers. The CAS and members of his entourage have since returned to Abuja.

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