•Two new aircraft to be acquired soon
•Commissions new air training command hqtrs
••other facilities in Kaduna
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has said that the equipment need of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), has been met with the acquisition of 18 brand new aircraft and refurbishment of 13 others.
Abubakar in a statement on Sunday by the Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, disclosed this in Kaduna where he commissioned the newly constructed and furnished Headquarters Air Training Command (HQ ATC) Complex during his visit of the NAF units across the country to assess operational effectiveness.
The Air Force who was accompanied by senior officers from NAF Headquarters, while in Kaduna on 14 and 15 September 2018, also commissioned the Headquarters Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) Quarters as well as a new Sport Complex at AFCS.
Other units visited include the Military Training Centre, NAF School of Medical Sciences, Air Force Comprehensive Secondary School (AFCS) and the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT).
While speaking during the commissioning of the facilities, Abubakar said: “the need for the right equipment, he noted, was gradually being met with the gracious support of the Federal Government through the acquisition of 18 brand new aircraft as well as the provision of resources and logistics support that facilitated the reactivation of 13 other aircraft, with another two expected to come on stream soon”.
In the same vein, he said the quest for the right manpower disposition necessitated an increase in recruitment, which has led to the enlistment of 7,244 airmen/airwomen and commissioning of 400 Direct Short Service Commissioned officers in the last three years to meet the manpower needs of the new structure and populate the new units created to adequately respond to security challenges in the country.
According to Abubakar, the imperative for the right welfare incentives has been met by the building and furnishing of new office and residential accommodation as well as renovation of some existing ones along with the establishment of new hospitals and schools in many NAF locations across the country.
On the HQ ATC Complex and other facilities being commissioned, the CAS said these were further evidences that his vision for the NAF was gradually being realized. He noted that upon assumption of office, he had determined that he would reposition the NAF into a highly professional and disciplined force for effective, efficient and timely employment of air power in response to Nigeria’s national security imperatives. He also noted that he had recognized at the time that the Service could only be repositioned if it had the right structure, right manpower disposition, right equipment holding as well as the right welfare incentives.
Speaking further, Abubakar remarked that the desire to have the right structure led to the unbundling of the erstwhile Training Command (TC) into two Commands, namely Ground Training and Air Training Commands (GTC and ATC), among other major structural changes made within the past 3 years.
He said it was gratifying that HQ ATC could now be moved back into NAF Base Kaduna after about 40 years of occupying a building in town. He noted that this would not only enhance administrative convenience but also improve operational effectiveness. He therefore commended the Logistics Branch and NAF Works Centre for completing the project on schedule. He urged the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) and staff of HQ ATC to ensure the complex was properly maintained.
Speaking earlier, the AOC ATC, Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Idris, expressed appreciation of the officers and airmen/airwomen of the Command to the CAS for his tremendous support and exemplary leadership. Idris thanked the CAS for numerous projects that had been executed in the Command’s area of responsibility, which has ensured conducive living and working environments for personnel to effectively contribute to the accomplishment of assigned tasks. The AOC pledged that the personnel of ATC would continue to work hard, train hard and put Service before self in the performance of their duties.
The new HQ ATC Complex consists of offices for the AOC, PSOs and other staff as well as conference rooms, an operations room and restaurants for both officers and men, while the PSOs Quarters consists of 10 furnished blocks consisting of two units of two bedroom flats each.
The new Sport Complex at AFCS Kaduna, which was only recently upgraded into a boarding school last year, has a football field and running track with a pavilion as well as volleyball, basketball and handball courts. As part of the operational visit, the CAS also inspected ongoing remodelling of the former hospital into NAF School of Medical Sciences Facilities at NAF Base Kaduna as well as some projects executed by the Commandant AFIT at the Institute.