The fight against insurgency, terrorism , crude oil theft and kidnapping in Nigeria got a major boost on Tuesday as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu inducts two new T-129 ATAK Helicopters and a King Air 360ER Beechcraft into the Nigerian Air Force (NAF)inventory.
The induction which took place earlier Tuesday, February 6, 2024, at NAF Base, Makurdi, saw the Vice President Kashim Shettima standing in for the president in the induction which security analysts says stands as a symbol of President Tinubu’s enduring commitment to the ideals of patriotism and investment in national security as well as a solemn commitment to safeguarding Nigeria’s security.
The president expressed confidence that the deployment of the newly acquired platforms would significantly enhance the combat efficiency of the NAF in addressing contemporary security challenges, both domestically and within the West African region.
He then called for discipline in operations and the establishment of a robust maintenance culture to maximize the benefits derived therein.
Speaking further, President Tinubu expressed pride in the NAF standing as a dependable regional power and emphasized his administration’s dedication to supporting it. President Tinubu also reflected on his earlier commitment to eradicating terrorism, insurgency, kidnapping, and other criminal activities that have plagued the country for years. Although he noted that substantial progress has been achieved in ongoing counterterrorism efforts, there should be no cause for celebration until the security challenges are fully addressed. He then called for a change in mindset, strategy and tactics in addressing the menace.
In his remarks, the Honourable Minister of Defence, Dr Badaru Abubakar, acknowledged the sincerity of purpose of the President towards restoring peace in every part of Nigeria. He then expressed his gratitude to the President for his foresight, resilient leadership, and unwavering support to the Armed Forces of Nigeria, despite the numerous challenges confronting the nation. The Minister also reiterated the need for adherence to maintenance schedules and the implementation of robust safety practices to ensure the sustained serviceability status of the aircraft so as to derive maximum benefit for the nation. He urged NAF personnel to align their individual and collective actions with the vision of the President, emphasizing the pursuit of peace, stability, and rapid development objectives.
Earlier, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, had noted that the induction ceremony bears glowing testimony of the Federal Government’s unwavering resolve to equip and energize the NAF and indeed the entire Armed Forces of Nigeria, towards combating terrorism and other threats facing the Nation. The CAS also disclosed that since Mr President assumed office, the NAF has inducted 5 new aircraft into its fleet, including 2 Diamond 62 surveillance aircraft, 2 T-129 ATAK helicopters, and a King Air 360 ER. While emphasizing the importance of these acquisitions in line with the President’s commitment to national security, the CAS highlighted the NAF’s plan to induct 46 new aircraft of various types over the next 18 months. Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar assured Nigerians that though the NAF is operationally engaged on all fronts, it would not rest until it brings the war to a favourable end to ensure the peace and stability that Nigerians deserve. He then urged all Nigerians to keep the faith and hope in the advancement and prosperity of the nation.
The ceremony witnessed the presence of other distinguished dignitaries, including the Excutive Governor of Benue State, His Excellency Hyacinth Alia, Minister of Information and Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Hidayet Bayraktar, members of the national assembly and several senior military officers, serving and retired.