The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has continued his visit to Nigerian Air Force (NAF) operational units in the Northeast after taking a short break to participate in the just concluded NAF Annual 10-kilometer Walk/Jog Competition for NAF personnel in Abuja. Earlier in the day at Maiduguri, the Air Component Commander of Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Air Commodore Tajudeen Yusuf, briefed the CAS on the more recent activities of the Air Component. In particular, the CAS sought to know if there were any emerging challenges and also requested for the projections of the Air Component in the continuing attempts at routing the remnants of the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT). Furthermore, the CAS directly interacted with the NAF combat pilots in Maiduguri during which operational and welfare matters dominated the discussion. Likewise, Air Marshal Abubakar held discussions with the airmen and airwomen, most of who are aircraft and aircraft-related technicians, and took the time to listen to feedbacks from them. Most personnel appreciated the efforts of the NAF leadership in creating a conducive environment to operate while a few highlighted some challenges bordering on operational and welfare matters. The CAS promptly provided solutions, which further raised the morale of the personnel.
Speaking during the discussion sessions, the CAS commended the efforts of the NAF personnel and conveyed the appreciation of the Service for their continuous selfless efforts, which had contributed to a remarkable improvement in the nation’s security. He recollected when Nigerians in the entire Northeast, parts of Northwest and even the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, could not sleep well because of the despicable activities of the BHTs. He added that substantial progress had been made in limiting the activities of the BHTs, who remain in disarray and had thus resorted to suicide bombing and kidnappings. He, however, acknowledged that there had been a few setbacks in recent times and that much more progress could still be made. Air Marshal Abubakar therefore told the personnel to redouble their efforts at ensuring the country was more secured, especially in the light of the enormous taxpayers’ resources being expended to acquire new platforms and reactivate grounded ones as well as provide for the welfare and training needs of personnel. While appreciating the difficulty in detecting a 13-year old girl with Improvised Explosive Device (IED) from a fighter aircraft, the CAS urged the personnel to use the newly deployed equipment on NAF Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms to pass relevant information about suspicious movements to the land forces.
Air Marshal Abubakar, who was accompanied on the visit by some senior officers from the Headquarters of the NAF in Abuja, later undertook an on-the-spot assessment of facilities on the Base. The CAS continues the operational visit to the NAF frontline troops tomorrow.