The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has reiterated the commitment of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to defend the territorial integrity of the Country just as he charged troops to maintain the momentum of operations against armed bandits. The CAS stated this today, 9 March 2020, while commissioning a newly constructed and furnished block of 20 x single bedroom accommodation for personnel at the 271 NAF Detachment (271 NAF Det) Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State. Air Marshal Abubakar further stated that the 271 NAF Det was established as part of the commitment to eradicate the menace of armed banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping within the North Western part of the Country. According to him, since the establishment of the Unit, there had been remarkable improvement in the security situation around the Birnin-Gwari axis. While noting that a lot more needed to be done, he disclosed that the NAF was constantly reviewing tactics, techniques and procedures as well as emplacing additional measures to effectively add value to the operations being conducted so as to ensure the security of lives and properties of Nigerians.

Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar disclosed that, as part of its efforts to improve welfare of personnel for effective service delivery, the NAF had embarked on the construction of befitting accommodation in all NAF locations within the 6 Geo-political Zones of the Country. According to him, the personnel of 271 NAF Det Birnin Gwari were not left out of the development as the 20 x single bedroom accommodation was built to provide befitting place of rest for them after a hard day’s job. The project, which the CAS said was executed through direct labour by the NAF Works Centre, was a product of NAF's commitment to improve on personnel welfare. "I am pleased to note that this building and other projects yet to be commissioned would be named after those personnel who paid the supreme price in the line of duty. While we pray for the repose of their souls, I urge officers, airmen and airwomen to continue to display the values of selflessness, bravery and dedication in the conduct of their respective duties", he added. The CAS stated that the ultimate objective was to emplace facilities to enable an increase in the strength of the 271 NAF Det to not less than 600 personnel, while also expanding the fuel storage facility to support more helicopters.

While commending the efforts of the NAF personnel involved in Operation DIRAN MIKIYA and other operations for a job well done, the CAS reiterated the commitment of the NAF to protect the citizenry and critical assets as well as bring succour to those in despair as it discharges its constitutional responsibilities to the Nation. He highlighted that the NAF, in furtherance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s policy thrust of ensuring the security of all Nigerians, had established 13 new units across the Country in the past 5 years. He said these included Quick Response Groups (QRGs) and Wings (QRWs) as well as Detachments at Ipetu Ijesha in Osun State, Gusau in Zamfara State, Owerri in Imo State, Katsina in Katsina State, Gembu in Taraba State and Agatu in Benue State as well as a Combat Search and Rescue Group (CSARG) at Kerang in Plateau State. He further disclosed that the NAF was also on the verge of activating a new QRW at Lafia in Nasarawa State as well as a Forward Operating Base at Gombi in Adamawa State. “We need to keep up the high morale and maintain the momentum so that the local communities are free to go about their normal activities without fear of molestation from bandits", the CAS said. He expressed the gratitude of the NAF to the President for his untiring support to the Service towards the achievement of its desired air power goals. Air Marshal Abubakar also specially thanked the Emir of Birnin Gwari, His Royal Highness Mallam Zubairu Jibril, Mai Gwari ll, for being at the forefront of efforts to ensure the establishment of the 271 NAF Det as well as for his continued support to the unit. He equally appreciated the National Assembly, especially the Senate and House Committees on Defence and Air Force, for their consistent support to the Service.

Speaking to the Press after the commissioning ceremony, the Emir of Birnin Gwari, while expressing extreme delight to witness the event, stated that he and the entire people of the Emirate were grateful to Mr President for not only approving the establishment of the unit but also providing the resources for ensuring its smooth running. He also commended the CAS for his tireless efforts in bringing the unit to realization as well as for emplacing necessary facilities and deploying aircraft and personnel to enhance security in the area. The Emir said the NAF’s presence in Birnin Gwari has had an immeasurably positive impact on security in the area.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Special Operations Command (SOC), Air Vice Marshal Charles Ohwo, stated that the commissioning was yet another demonstration of the priority attention given by the current NAF leadership to troops’ motivation through the provision of enabling environment for effective and professional performance. He reassured the CAS of the dedication of personnel of SOC to ensuring that insurgency and banditry are defeated.

Other dignitaries at the event included the Chairman Birnin Gwari Local Government Area; Branch Chiefs from the NAF Headquarters; Commandants of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College and the Air Traffic Services Training Centre. Also present were the General Officer Commanding 1 Division Nigerian Army; AOC Air Training Command; Deputy Commandant Nigerian Defence Academy as well as Commanders of Military Formations and Heads of Para Military Agencies in Kaduna State.

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