NAF Embarked on Wide Range of Intensive Air Operations As Current Security Remained Fluid and Unpredictable - Air Chief


The Chief Executive  of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, has said despite Nigeria’s current security environment, which remained fluid, dynamic and unpredictable, NAF has continued to embark on a wide range of intensive air operations, including Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance, Air Interdiction and Armed Reconnaissance across operational theatres in the country, with varying degree of successes. 

Air Chief disclosed this when members of the House of Representative Committee on Air Force, led by the Chairman, Honourable Kabiru Alhassan Rurum were at Headquarters Nigerian Air Force (NAF) earlier today, 13 March 2024, as part of their oversight responsibilities. 

According to him, “While terrorists’ activities in the Northeast and Northwest Nigeria have declined, we have in recent times witnessed an escalation in the rate and frequency of kidnappings and hostage-taking by these same criminals in the region. 

The recent coordinated spade of kidnappings of over 200 school children in Kaduna, 15 students in Sokoto and several others in Borno States are clear pointers to this fact. 

Speaking further, the CAS noted that in the southeast and south-south region, the threats posed by secessionists and oil thieves, though on the decline, have also been a source of concern. These situations, he further stated, have been exacerbated as more Nigerians slip into poverty, occasioned by lack of jobs amid high cost of living, causing some to turn to crime. 

These successes, he said, were made possible due to the unwavering support of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, as evident in the recent acquisition and induction of various platforms with the most recent being the induction of 2 x T-129 ATAK Helicopters. 

Air Marshal Abubakar also used the opportunity of the visit to reel out some pressing challenges militating against NAF’s effectiveness, one of which is the astronomic rise in fuel prices and the introduction of surcharges. 

According to him, “Currently, the situation is worsening, as the cost of Jet A-1 fluctuate at almost #1,200 per litre as against the budgeted #360 per litre. We are soliciting that the NAF be permitted to independently commence the importation of Jet A-1 fuel to sustain our ongoing air operations.” 

Other challenges enumerated by the CAS include the need to enhance NAF’s tactical airlift capability to support both land and maritime forces in various theatres of operations as well as disaster relief efforts in remote areas, the need for an air operations command and control infrastructure as well as the need for an enhanced Air Defence and Airspace Surveillance capabilities, among others. 

Speaking during the visit, Honourable Rurum noted that the visit, which was in line with the provisions of sections 88 & 62(1) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Order Twenty (B) 13 of the Standing Orders of the 10th House of Representatives, aims at nurturing a robust relationship between the NASS and the NAF. 

He went on to state that the Committee stands as a beacon of support and intervention as matters concerning budget allocation and implementation, policy amendments, public perception, transparency and community engagement will be brought to the forefront for discussion, understanding and possible legislative action. 

According to the Chairman, “Through an open channel of communication and collaboration as well as understanding the current status and challenges faced by the Service, we can collectively explore avenues to strengthen NAF’s operational capacity.” 

The Committee Chairman was accompanied by the Deputy Chairman, Honourable Rufus Ojuawo, representing Ekiti South Federal Constituency 1 as well as 18 other honourable members..

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