- Inducts 2 NAF helicopters, aircraft, calls for change in mindset, strategy, tactics
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has implored the Nigerian military and other security agencies to intensify efforts at containing the multi-dimensional security challenges in the country, National Association of Online Security News Publishers, NAOSNP can report.
He restated his administration’s continued support to the nation’s security forces through the modernization of fleets, training and welfare of personnel.
The President gave the charge on Tuesday during the induction ceremony of two TK-129 ATAK Helicopters and a King Air 360i Aircraft at Nigeria Air (NAF) Base, Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
President Tinubu who was represented at the event by his deputy, Vice President Kashim Shettima, recalled the commissioning and induction of four additional Diamond-62 surveillance aircraft into the arsenal of the Nigerian Air Force about two months ago, saying it is a symbol of his government’s enduring commitment to the ideals of patriotism and investment in the nation’s security.
“Indeed, our solemn commitment to safeguarding Nigeria’s security hinges upon the realisation that without vigilant attention to the needs of our Armed Forces who are saddled with the maintenance of peace, law, order and stability, anarchy and lawlessness would surely prevail,” he stated.
Delivering the President’s address, VP Shettima noted that the acquisition of helicopters and aircraft had become necessary to improve the strategic use of air power in combating terrorism, insurgency and other security challenges plaguing the nation.
Urging the nation’s security forces to step up their game, President Tinubu said, “I have no doubt that the deployment of these platforms would add impetus to the combat efficiency of the Nigerian Air Force in addressing our contemporary security challenges, not only within the shores of our country but also in the West African region. We are committed to taking the right steps to achieve the desired results.
“The acquisition of these aircraft amongst other military equipment despite our budgetary constraints is an expression of our commitment. We shall ensure that every sector of our nation benefits from the change that we promised. I therefore expect discipline in operation and a strong maintenance culture that will enable the nation to derive maximum benefits from these acquisitions.”
He recalled how since it was established in 1964, the Nigerian Air Force had been playing critical roles in national security, peace-keeping and humanitarian operations globally, noting that its “contributions to the sustenance and maintenance of peace and security in places like The Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Mozambique, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Cameroun have not only been a source of pride to Nigeria but have projected the nation as a reliable regional power.
“This is indeed most commendable just as the Nigerian Air Force continues to synergize with other security agencies in curtailing the threats posed by terrorists, insurgents and other criminal elements in the country,” he further stated.
Recalling his promise during his inaugural speech last year that security shall be the top priority of his administration, the President said about six months after his proclamations, “So much has been achieved due to the gallant and synergistic efforts of our various security agencies”.
He expressed delight that coordination among security agencies has improved significantly, just as he declared that “there is no room for celebrations until we put an end to the security logjam; until we can bring our troops back to their localities, and until we can free up resources for our critical economic expansion programme”.
President Tinubu assured that “professionalism, capacity building and adequate equipping of our Armed Forces and other security agencies are a major policy thrust” of his administration.
He, therefore, reiterated that under his watch, the Federal Government “will continue to re-professionalise and re-equip the Armed Forces and security agencies to effectively discharge their duties to our nation”, noting further that as Chairman of the ECOWAS, he was working diligently to enhance regional conflict management and development mechanisms.
Inducting the aircraft and helicopters, the President said, “Finally, I congratulate the Chief of the Air Staff and all the personnel of the Air Force on this occasion of the commissioning of the T-129 ATAK helicopters and King Air 360i aircraft into the Service. At this juncture, I hereby induct the 2 x T -129 ATAK helicopters as NAF 500 and NAF 501 and King Air 360i as NAF 205 into the Service of the Nigerian Air Force and our country”.
Earlier in his welcome address, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, noted that the acquisition and induction of the T129 Atak helicopter and Beechcraft King Air 360i aircraft is a testimony of the Federal Government’s unwavering resolve to equip and empower the air force and enhance its capacity to address security challenges confronting the nation, in conjunction with sister forces and security agencies.
He thanked President Tinubu for the provision to enable the Nigerian Air Force to acquire seven brand-new aircraft within six months of his administration.
The Air Chief disclosed that the Air Force is currently overhauling its operational platforms, equipment and the entire environment to improve its efficiency and service delivery.
On his part, Minister of Defence, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Badaru, said the induction of the new platforms for the Air Force is a testimony of President Tinubu’s resolve to add impetus to the armed forces’ fight against security challenges in the country.
He commended the armed forces for the commitment to executing their assignments in line with the counter-terrorism plan of the present administration, just as he urged the military to imbibe a positive maintenance culture in utilizing platforms purchased by the government.
Also present at the event were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas; Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue State; some members of the National Assembly from Benue State and members of the state House of Assembly, among others.
Senior Special Assistant to The President on Media & Communications
(Office of The Vice President)
6th February, 2024