The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has expressed satisfaction with the progress of ongoing air operations in the North West Zone of the Country and pledged the commitment of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to sustain the intensity of operations in order to rid the Zone of armed bandits and other criminal elements.
The CAS made this known Thursday, October 8, 2020, while on an operational visit to the Headquarters of the Air Component of Operation HADARIN DAJI in Katsina to assess the progress of operations.
A Press statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, stated that the visit also afforded the CAS the opportunity to ascertain, first hand, the status of personnel, aircraft and logistics support facilities that had been deployed to ensure the effective conduct of operations.
The CAS, who was accompanied on the visit by senior officers from Headquarters NAF, was received in Katsina by the Air Officer Commanding Special Operations Command (AOC SOC), Air Vice Marshal Charles Owho, and subsequently received a closed door briefing from the Air Component Commander, Wing Commander Ahmed Hamidu.
Speaking to the Press after the briefing, the CAS reiterated the NAF’s commitment to flush out armed bandits and other criminals from their forest hideouts in Katsina and Zamfara States as well as in Kaduna, Niger and Sokoto States. “I am very happy with what the Air Component has been doing, especially here in Katsina as well as in Zamfara State. We have made significant progress. We have also been able to substantially deal with the problem in Sokoto State”, he added.
He stated that these efforts would be intensified as more attack helicopters and fighter jets would be deployed in order to bring to an end the menace of armed banditry in the affected areas. “I assure you that very soon most of these problems will be over”, he said.
Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar expressed his appreciation to the Federal Government for its support towards the NAF’s fleet renewal efforts, which, he disclosed, included the acquisition of 8 Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) which would soon arrive into the Country.
He added that about 70 personnel, who are to operate and maintain the UCAVs, had already been nominated for training in China.
He further disclosed that some of the UCAVs would be deployed in Katsina and Gusau, while others would be deployed to Gombe, at the newly established 203 Combat Reconnaissance Group (203 CRG) Gombe.
He also stated that he would be in Gusau the following week to discuss with the Zamfara State Government on arrangements for the deployment of UCAVs to Gusau. “These UCAVs will bring substantial value to what we are doing. The whole idea is to send the right message to Nigerians that the Federal Government is doing everything humanly possible to ensure that our communities are safe”, the CAS added.
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