Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe
The Nigerian Senate Committee on Air Force has described the land allocated by the Gombe State Government for the establishment of an Air Force Base, as a step to solve 80% of the security challenges in the North East zone.
Speaking at the Government House after inspecting the Air Force Base coming up at the Gombe Airport, the Senate Committee Chairman on Air Force, Senator Bala Ibn Na’abba who led the team to visit Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, said he was impressed by the work being carried out.
The base has commenced already, the housing estate for the officers is there the operation area is being cleared, the machines have already been ordered ad by the Grace of God, by November, we expect that we will start taking delivery, just because the Head of State is particular about solving the issue of insecurity around the North East. So, what we are trying to do is to see how we can fast-track the structural development of the place, so that when these equipment come, they will have a place to be housed, they will have officers to man them and the operational capability of the Air Force would have been enhanced,” said Senator Ibn. Na’abba.
Senator Ibn Na’abba said the Air Force would be enhanced, when the base become fully functional, solving it by 75%.
Governor Yahaya appreciated the efforts being made by the Senate for coming to inspect the Air Force Base coming up in Gombe, as a means of providing security services to the North-East sub-region.
Governor Yahaya again re-emphasised the position of Gombe State in the North East, especially its good standing relations with all five North East States, but was worried at the tendency of indigenes of other states fleeing to Gombe State for safety.
He said the state had to deal with trying to accommodate displaced persons, who fled their states due to insurgency or other forms of disasters.
“Unless and until you secure Gombe, then you can never claim to have peace in the North-East sub-region, because whatever happens around dovetails to ending up in Gombe, because of its proximity ad its and the log standing relations that have been existing since before the creation of Nigeria and up to the time the Northern Region and eventually the North-East sub-region, being the North Eastern States,” Governor Yahaya said.
He said because of the position and the situation the state had to deal with, it did not waste time in approving the land for the Air Force, which will subsequently provide the needed security for the entire North East.
“So, we are looking for the completion of this Air Force Base, because we believe it will enhance security, not only in Gombe State but in the wider North-East and Nigeria as a whole. We need the services of the airport, we need the services of the Nigerian Air Force, we need the services of all other security agencies and we need the services of all that will improve and impact on the lives of the people for us to move forward. And for us, we believe Gombe State is ready to join hands with the Federal Government at any level, so that our people can get that service and the entire Nigerian people can get that service that is needed for them to have an improved and better life,” Governor Yahaya said.
He pledged his administration’s support for the Nigerian Air Force and the assurance to stand by them, to secure the lives and property of the people, not just in Gombe, but for the entire country.
The Gombe State Governor, however sought for the intervention of the Senate concerning the huge debts the state owed to aviation agencies in maintaining the airport.
“Shouldering that responsibility is really a big burden on a small state like Gombe. So far, close to a billion naira is standing against the balance and I believe without the effort of Gombe State, there wouldn’t have been an airport. So, the Federal Government has to look into that. We are already in discussion with that regard. And since we have gotten the backing of the Senate, I can say that that bill is almost finished,” Governor Yahaya said.
The Senate Committee on Air Force said the Senate was ever ready to provide every support to Gombe State, so as to win the war against insurgency in the North East, which was equally a major goal for President Buhari to attain.
“That we recognize the fact that this area, which is called the North East is in dire need of support as far as security challenge is concerned, that we have recognized the fact that there is a bold step taken by Mr. president along that line, then we have an obligation to ensure that we complement the effort of Mr. President towards achieving that goal within the set target that the Federal Government intends to do it. And therefore, we must come and appreciate what you have done to Gombe as a state and the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a country. Your Excellency, we equally have the authority of the Senate to say that are available to Gombe State to assist in whatever form, His Excellency feel we can intervene, in solving the already existing problem that we are aware of regarding the Gombe Airport.
We will do what is humanly possible to intervene and ensure the quick and timely resolution of the issue,” Senator Na’abba said.
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