The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has reiterated the relentless commitment of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to adding value in the ongoing efforts to end communal clashes, banditry, kidnapping and other forms of criminality in Benue State and its environs. The CAS stated this today, 31 August 2020, during the commissioning ceremony of newly constructed 10 x one bedroom residential accommodation for Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) at the 21 Quick Response Wing (21 QRW) in Agatu, Benue State.
Represented at the occasion by the Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Special Operations Command (SOC), Air Vice Marshal Charles Ohwo, the CAS disclosed that the newly constructed accommodation was provided to create a conducive environment that would motivate the personnel to perform optimally as well as reassure them that the Service is sensitive to their welfare needs. He assured that the Headquarters NAF would continue to support the Unit, while working with other security agencies when the need arises, with the deployment of helicopter gunships and other air assets in order to be effective in ensuring that the people are safe and secure.
Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar recalled that the nefarious activities of criminal elements, particularly in Agatu, which had affected economic activities within the Zone, necessitated the emplacement of highly-trained, well-equipped and properly-quartered personnel to deal with the threats. He commended the Unit for its current efforts to deal with communal clashes, banditry, kidnapping and other forms of criminality in Benue State and environs. The CAS also used the occasion to express the gratitude of the NAF to President Muhammadu Buhari for his continued support to the Service. He assured that the NAF would continue to discharge its constitutional responsibility of defending Nigeria’s territorial integrity while ensuring respect for human rights. He furthermore enjoined all personnel of the Unit to maintain the highest level of personal and collective hygiene while abiding by the regulations stipulated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other relevant authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19.
In his welcome address, the Commander 211 Quick Response Group (211 QRG) Owerri, Group Captain Elisha Bindul, stated that the commissioning would further motivate personnel of the 21 QRW to continue putting in their best towards the attainment of the NAF’s mission. According to him, the welfare project would not only ease the accommodation deficiency in the Unit but also improve the quality of services the personnel would provide. He therefore assured the CAS of the Unit’s determination to continue to deal decisively with militia groups, kidnappers and other forms of criminality in Agatu and other parts of the Benue-Nasarawa corridor.
Among dignitaries in attendance were the Chairman Agatu Local Government Area, Honourable Suleiman Adoyi, as well as His Royal Highness, the Adah of Agatu, Chief Godwin Onah Ngbede, who both expressed appreciation to the CAS and the NAF for the establishment of the 21 QRW, which, they said, had significantly enhanced security in the area.
It would be recalled that the 21 QRW was established in 2018, alongside 22 QRW Lafia, Nasarawa State and 23 QRW Gembu in Taraba State, as a part of the CAS’ strategy aimed at responding to national security imperatives by bringing security closer to the people. The Unit’s major role is to further enhance the NAF’s ability to respond to internal security threats within the Benue-Nasarawa and Taraba States corridor, working in synergy with sister Services and other security agencies within its Area of Responsibility.