In a move to rev up the fight against Boko Haram terrorists in the North East, the federal government has procured 30 aircraft and six helicopters for the Nigeria Air Force.
The chief of air staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who revealed this yesterday in Kano, said the move was geared towards taming the challenge posed by the terrorists in the region.
Air Marshal Abubakar, who relocated to the North West and North East in line with President Buhari’s directive, spoke during the commissioning of a multi-billion Naira Modular Theatre at the 465 Nigeria Air Force Hospital, Kano.
He stated that the United States of America and Italy had been supporting Nigeria with the supply of platforms to fight Boko Haram and other terrorists in Nigeria.
The CAS said, “The President Buhari administration has done much in repositioning the Nigerian Air Force. In the last three and half years, the federal government has procured and released 18 brand new aircraft to the Nigerian Air Force.
“We are also hoping to get 12 brand new aircraft from the United States of America. In addition, we are also hoping to get six brand new helicopter gunships from Italy. So, I think from what we have seen in terms of support, every officer, air-man and air-woman in the Nigerian Air Force has every reason to put in his or her best in order to ensure that Nigeria is secure.”
He further pledged the air force’s resolve to discharge its mandate dutifully.
“I assure Nigerians that the Air Force will continue to work. I am in Kano for two reasons, not only to commission this theatre, but in compliance with the directive that we should relocate to North West and to the North East of the country in order to supervise or see what is going on in terms of dealing with some of the security threats facing Nigeria.”
While commissioning the Modular Theatre, he said, “This hospital is for the benefit of the officers and the benefit of their family members. I also want to urge the commander of the hospital to make this facility available to the civilian population around here.
“Furthermore, in line with the Nigerian Air Force tradition of giving back to her host community as earlier indicated, I want to direct that the commander should open the facility to all civilians. This gesture will, no doubt, go a long way in improving the quality of healthcare delivery in these communities.
“I also want to reaffirm our commitment to periodically reaching out to the surrounding rural communities, to provide them with the much needed preventive healthcare services, including health education and ensure their wellbeing.
Abubakar, on behalf of the officers, air-men and air-women of the Nigerian Air Force, expressed gratitude to the President Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) for his continued support to the Service.
“On our part, the Nigerian Air Force shall continue to strive for excellence in everything we do, and operating within the constitutional provisions, in collaboration with other sister Services to provide the necessary security for Nigeria and Nigerians.
“I was conducted round our hanger where we saw some technicians that are working to bring back three of our aircraft that are being reactivated. And the second part of it is commissioning of the Modula Theatre. “Our desire is to have a professional Air Force, an Air Force that has the right structure, and an Air Force that has equipment such as the platforms that have been acquired for us; and then, an Air Force that takes care of the welfare of the personnel and that is where this Modula Theatre comes in.
“Professionalism is about getting all these things sorted out and I am very happy that we have tried in the last two and half years to ensure that we address all the fundamental issues that are likely to make the Air Force a professional service so that Nigeria will be secured and Nigerians will also be secured.”
While speaking during the event, NAF Chief of Medical Services, Air Commodore M.E. Sha’aibu, said with the commissioning of the new theatre, “injured personnel from the theatre of operation in the North East can be evacuated to the hospital, stabilised and treated.
Sha’aibu added that the new theatre with state-of-the-art equipment comprises a reception, lecture hall, common and recovery rooms, offices, and two operating suites.
“It is equipped with modern anaesthetic machines, operating tables, theatre lamps, C-arm machines and operating microscopes.
“The Chief of Air Staff has also provided funds for the maintenance of the equipment in the radio diagnostic department of the hospital in addition to employing seasonal consultants,” he said.
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