Buhari Inaugurates 2 Air Force Combat Helicopters

President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday in Kaduna inaugurated two Mi

35m combat  helicopters to boost the attack capabilities of the

Nigeria Air Force  (NAF).

 

The helicopter gunships were delivered to Nigeria by Russia in April.

 

The President was represented by the Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen

Muhammad Dan-Ali (rtd) at the NAF base in Kaduna during celebrations

to mark the 54th Anniversary of the Air Force.

 

The theme of the year 54 event was, “Enhancing Nigerian Air Force

Operational Capacity for Timely Employment of Air Power in Response to

Contemporary Security Challenges. “

 

Buhari said the NAF was established in April 1964 to achieve full

complement of the country’s military defence system.

 

“As a young Army officer, I took part from the beginning to the end in

our tragic civil war and I know the role the young NAF played in the

prosecution of the civil war.

 

“NAF has undergone several developmental stages and the government

over the years acquired various weapons system to enable the NAF to

effectively perform it’s roles.”

 

He said the most recent platforms added to NAF inventory by the

current administration include, “Super Mushsak, the recently delivered

Mi 35 Helicopters, the Daimond and various helicopters.

 

“We have also approved the purchase of Super Tucano aircraft.”

He added: “With the acquisition of these new weapons platforms, there

arose the need to train personnel to man and maintain the new aircraft

types.”

 

The President also disclosed that within the last two years NAF

enlisted and recruited over 5,000 personnel to adequately boost its

human capacity, which was in line with his administration efforts of

creating jobs for unemployed youths.

 

Buhari said role of military as an enabler of national development

cannot be overemphasized as the efforts would be futile if national

security is not first guaranteed.

 

“Let me once  more commend the gallant men and women of the Nigerian

armed forces and other security agencies for their tireless efforts in

defeating Boko Haram and other threats to our nation.”

 

The President saluted the efforts of the current leadership of NAF for

performing its assignments wonderfully well.

 

Earlier the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar said the

growth of the NAF since the inception of the current administration

has been particularly outstanding.

 

Abubakar said 12 grounded aircraft have been reactivated and personnel

strength increased by 7,500 men and 400 officers.

 

“Two Commands and two new Branches have been established and new

platforms acquired and inducted into service to meet the evolving

security challenges we are faced with.”

 

The air chief said the gap between force projection and fence

protection has been substantially bridged with 79 training of about

1000 Special Forces.

He said the special forces have been deployed as part of the

intervention force to deal with the internal Security challenges of

the North Central geopolitical zone.

 

“Some of the forces are deployed in Zurmi Local Government Area of

Zamfara, working with other security agencies to deal with internal

Security challenges.

 

“By next week, another batch of the special forces will be deployed to

the newly established Quick response wing at Nguroje in Taraba State.

 

“In addition, we are putting finishing touches to infrastructure in

Keran Plateau State, lpetu ljesha in Osun state, Doma in Nasarawa and

Agatu in Benue State to deploy elements of these forces.” he said.

 

Abubakar said NAF remain committed to supporting the vision of the

government of ensuring a secured and prosperous Nigeria.