The Nigeria Air Force has appealed to the media and communities in the North East to join hands with the military in the fight against organized crimes in the country.
Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar who made the appeal on Saturday, at a parley with representatives of media organizations in the country, in Abuja noted that the air force is not limited to only bombing of criminals and terrorists.
While harping on the need for the media to project its other positive activities, the Air Chief said, “It’s not all about bombing and recording casualties but carrying the people along in the information perspective as to how Air Force is winning the battle against insecurity in the land”.
With its renewed military hardware such as new gunships, helicopters as well as support from the Federal Government, Abubakar disclosed that the Air Force “is battle ready” to move into the dreaded Sambisa forest to flush out the insurgents.
He said, “We now watch for 48 hours to soften the ground before moving”.
He disclosed that over 700 personnel have been sent to acquire skills and training in several disciplines in the air force with a view to enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in discharging their respective duties.
“Nigeria has the most competent pilots because they have undergone adequate training with a stringent curriculum. We are giving them the right skill required”.
He appealed to communities in the North East where the military is engaged in anti-terrorism war to fully cooperate with the Force, assuring the affected communities of the readiness of the military to protect their lives and property.
“We need the communities to give us adequate information on the activities and hide-outs of the Boko Haram insurgents”.
He said that in line with winning the hearts of these communities, the NAF has “established medical services in Maiduguri Base. We also have Internally Displaced Persons Emergency hospitals in Bama.
“We have conducted a lot of medical outreach programmes in the bases so that they can assist us to get vital intelligence and information. We have settled the communities’ welfare services and provided additional schools for their boys and girls”.
He said further that the air force has also “introduced agricultural programmes in four bases including Yenagoa, Kaduna and Ikeja, to assist the youths and encourage them”.
While noting that the personnel were not being trained to protect only their bases but also airports across the country, Abubakar said there was a need for research and development in coming up with innovative ideas on how to build fighting equipment in Nigeria as well”.
Toward this end, Air Marshal Abubakar said “we have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with five Nigerian universities which has cost us over 5million naira”.
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