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
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
“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.