In thinking and acting strategically, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, has approved the establishment of a Forward Operating Base (FOB) at Ogoja in Cross River State. At a Groundbreaking Ceremony earlier today in Ogoja, Air Marshal Amao stated that the need for an FOB in the Southern-most part of Cross River State became expedient after a review of NAF’s doctrine, force structure and Order of Battle. He stated further that besides the reviews as reason behind the establishment of the FOB, the NAF has also found it strategically crucial to extend its reach for effective employment of air power towards the maintenance of peace in the Country. Additionally, the CAS noted that the initiative was also premised on Cross River State’s strategic location as a border town with both the Southeast and the North Central geopolitical zones of Nigeria and more importantly, its proximity to the Nigeria-Cameroon international border. According to him, ‘The Forward Operating Base is expected to facilitate the planning and execution of military operations, as well as the timely and rapid deployment of troops in response to threats within and around this part of the Country.’ He went on to add that, ‘It would also complement the efforts of other security agencies in the fight against local and cross border crimes; thereby contributing to the maintenance of peace and security in the region and the country at large.’
Air Marshal Amao commended members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) and other security agencies whose efforts have firmly contained the threats posed by the recent upsurge in the activities of terrorists and other criminals across the nation, as occasioned with an increased tempo of NAF operations. He also used the opportunity of the event to assure Nigerians of NAF’s commitment towards enhancing the security of lives and properties nationwide while continually seeking for areas of collaboration and cooperation with states and local governments as well as members of host communities. He went on to appreciate the Government and people of Cross River State and the host community for magnanimously allocating the expanse of land to the NAF without which the plan for the FOB in Ogoja would not have been a reality.
In his remarks, the representative of the Governor of Cross River State, Professor Ivara Esu stated that the decision to provide the NAF with about 1100 hectares of land for the establishment of a FOB in Ogoja was premised on the fact that security remained a veritable catalyst for development and there cannot be meaningful development without security. He assured the CAS of the State’s continued support to the NAF towards meeting its constitutional mandate. He also noted that the additional military presence, occasioned by the establishment of the FOB, will no doubt help in addressing security challenges, especially in the Northern part of the State. In commending the CAS for his laudable achievements since taking over the reins of leadership, he specifically acknowledged the stellar contributions of the NAF in the various theatres of operation across the Country, particularly in the fight against insurgency and banditry. He also seized the opportunity to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his proven leadership at these trying times and for approving the establishment of the FOB in Cross River State.
The groundbreaking ceremony, witnessed by a mammoth crowd also had in attendance members of the Cross River State Executive Council, Chairmen of Ogoja and Iyala Local Government Areas as well as religious leaders and traditional rulers.