Against the backdrop of President Muhammadu Buhari directive NAF to deploy attack aircraft for strikes at armed bandits camps in Niger, Zamfara and Katsina states, the Nigerian Airforce has commenced mobilization of additional air assets and special forces personnel towards routing the criminals.
Consequently, the NAF has advised the armed bandits, some of whom carry high calibre weapons, to have a change of heart and surrender to security forces or face the devastation of the firepower that would soon rain on them.
Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadque Abubarkar gave the warning on Monday 27 January 2020 when the Governor of Katsina State, Hon Aminu Bello Masari paid a courtesy call to NAF headquarters, Abuja.
In this regard, he said the NAF will deploy the assets to troubled areas in the Northwestern States currently combating armed banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other related crimes, to beef up already existing security arrangements.
The CAS disclosed that the NAF, in conjunction with sister Services and other security agencies, would continue to work tirelessly to ensure the territorial integrity of the Nation, whilst dealing ruthlessly with all criminal elements that seek to undermine the security of Nigeria and Nigerians.
Air Marshal Abubakar appreciated the laudable peace initiatives of the Kastina State Government to deal with the issue of banditry in the State and pledged the NAF’s commitment to continue working closely with the Governments of the affected States to deal with the emerging security challenges in the area.
Towards this end, he noted that the NAF has emplaced infrastructure at Daura in Katsina State and Gusau in Zamfara State to cater for the additional personnel and air assets that would be deployed.
He equally disclosed that a helipad had been constructed at Birnin Magaji in Zamfara State, while the refueling facilities in Gusau had been expanded to further facilitate the effective and efficient conduct of air operations.
The CAS noted that the ability of the Service to carry out its constitutional roles has continued to be facilitated by the provision of adequate resources by the Federal Government, thus obviating the need to depend on any state government for logistics support.
He added that the NAF recently acquired 2 new Agusta 109 Power Helicopters and was also expecting an additional helicopter.
He highlighted that all three would be inducted into the NAF in the coming days.
This, he said, would increase the operational capability of the NAF and further help in the prosecution of the ongoing anti-banditry operations in the area.
He added that the NAF has always been a part of the internal security arrangements in Katsina State and would not relent in its efforts to ensure that relative peace is restored to Kastina State and other troubled parts of the country.
Governor Aminu Masari in his remarks, commended the CAS for his consistent support and various contributions towards the security of lives and properties of Nigerians.
He said, on its part, the Katsina State Government’s ban on the use of motorcycles from dusk to dawn has had positive impact on the security situation in the State.
He noted however that the deployment of additional air assets to the State would further add value to security efforts, especially given the difficult terrain in the affected areas, which impedes the movement of ground-based security forces.
According to him, “my visit today is to thank the Chief of the Air Staff for his efforts and also to request additional support and assistance toward ensuring security within those restricted areas in the forest that our ground troops do not have access.”
He said, based on his interactions with other security agencies, the easiest and safest mode of operation to address these challenges would be through the air.
Present at the courtesy visit were some senior Katsina State Government officials as well as Principal Staff Officers of the NAF Headquarters.
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