The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has assured that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) will sustain the aerial onslaught against armed bandits whilst continuing to provide adequate support to sister Services and other security agencies to ensure the success of ongoing anti-banditry operations aimed at restoring peace to troubled parts of the North West (NW) and North Central (NC) States of the Country. The CAS made this disclosure today, 27 May 2020, while on an operational visit to NAF Base Kaduna, where he received operational briefings from the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command (AOC ATC), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Musa Mukhtar, as well as Air Component Commanders of various Joint Operations in the NW and NC Theatres.
The CAS has earlier inspected the Super Mushshak and Diamond DA-40 trainer aircraft fleets as well as support facilities at the 401 Flying Training School (401 FTS) and 431 Engineering Group. He also held meetings with Instructor Pilots at 401 FTS with a view to evolving strategies to improve student pilots’ training in the School.
Speaking to the Press after the inspection and briefing, the CAS disclosed that he was in Kaduna to assess the progress of ongoing anti-banditry operations in the affected States with a view to ascertaining areas of challenge in order to quickly address them to forestall gaps in the planning and execution of both air interdiction and close air support missions. He expressed satisfaction with the briefing he had received, highlighting that successes had been recorded in air strikes against armed bandits' camps whilst appreciable level of support had been provided to ground operations. He said these would be further boosted. “Our aim is to ensure that these bandits find no breathing space anywhere, whether in Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger or indeed any other State in the area. We shall ensure that we deal decisively with them so that the inhabitants are able to return to their farms and engage in their farming activities as well as pursue other legitimate aspirations without fear”, he added.
Also present for the briefing was the General Officer Commanding 1 Division Nigerian Army Kaduna as well as Branch Chiefs and Directors from Headquarters NAF. Similar operational visits are planned for the coming days to assess the NAF’s support for joint operations in Sokoto and Zamfara States under Operation HADARIN DAJI, Lagos and the South West Zone under Operation AWATSE, States in the South South under Operation DELTA SAFE as well as Benue and other States under the coverage of Operation WHIRL STROKE.