By Lazarus Zakaa, Abuja
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar, has commended personnel of the 107 Air Maritime Group (107 AMG) Benin for their contributions in the efforts of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to ensure a secured Nigeria.
While making the commendation, the CAS also reiterated that the NAF, working in synergy with sister Services and other security agencies, would continue to work round the clock so that Nigerians in every part of the country would be able to pursue their legitimate aspirations without fear.
Air Marshal Abubakar made this commitment today, 29 August 2020, while on an operational visit to the 107 AMG to inspect facilities and infrastructure preparatory to the deployment of special mission aircraft to Benin as part of the Federal Government’s Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure aimed at comprehensively tackling insecurity in Nigeria’s territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), up to the Gulf of Guinea.
The CAS, who was accompanied by Branch Chiefs, Directors and other senior officers from the NAF Headquarters, was received on arrival in Benin by the Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command (AOC TAC), Air Vice Marshal Olusegun Philip. He was subsequently briefed on the activities of the 107 AMG by the Commander, Air Commodore Enebong Effiom, before proceeding to inspect the Aircraft Hangar and Taxiway, proposed site for Aircraft Shelters, Bulk Fuel Installation (BFI) facility as well as existing office and residential accommodations both within and outside the NAF Base, including the ongoing construction of a 30 x one bedroom accommodation for airmen.
In his remarks after the inspection, Air Marshal Abubakar expressed satisfaction with the contributions of the 107 AMG in the NAF’s efforts towards ensuring that Nigeria is secured. He noted that the ATR-42 aircraft, which operates from Benin, had been flying combat support missions all over the Country, including Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger States, amongst others.
“As I speak to you now, the ATR-42 aircraft, NAF 930, is currently conducting missions in the North East of the Country. So clearly your Unit is contributing significantly to what we are doing to ensure that our country is secured and our people can pursue their legitimate aspirations without fear”, the CAS added.
Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar revealed that the purpose of his visit was to assess facilities and infrastructure for the imminent deployment of additional air assets to Benin by the Federal Government.
“We are here to look at the infrastructure available and also identify gaps”, he said.
“The Hangar facility is adequate. However, there will be need for aircraft shelters and some Ground Support Equipment in order to make the deployment possible”, he added.
He further noted that many additional pilots, engineers and technicians, who, he said, had already been nominated for conversion training on the new aircraft, as well as force protection elements, comprising NAF Special Forces personnel, would also be deployed to Benin.
He observed that additional office and residential accommodation would therefore be required.
“Like I said, we have looked at all the infrastructure available, including office and residential accommodation, and we know that there are gaps.
We will try to ensure that these gaps are bridged before the special mission aircraft will be deployed here”, he added.
Air Marshal Abubakar again commended the AOC TAC as well as the Commander and all personnel of the 107 AMG for ensuring that the ATR-42 aircraft remains serviceable to continue contributing its quota to the NAF’s operations all over the Country.
He urged them to be prepared to provide the same kind of support to the special mission aircraft when it arrives, noting that the aircraft would undoubtedly add value to the security arrangements in Nigeria’s Maritime environment.
Before departing Benin, the CAS held a closed door interactive session with the officers, airmen and airwomen where he entertained questions and also received feedback as well as suggestions from them on how to move the Service forward for more effective and efficient service delivery.