By Tony Edike
ENUGU-Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Alex Barde, said the Nigerian Airforce will commence deployment of Nigeria war planes to check the activities of jihad fighters in Mali on Thursday morning.
Barde who paid his maiden visit to Enugu Airforce Unit, Wednesday, said the action was in compliance to President Jonathan’s directive that military contingent be sent to assist the country to contain the jihad fighters in Mali.
Said he; “As I speak to you now our air planes have arrived in Port-Harcourt; in-fact I’m on my way to Rivers State now and tomorrow morning we are beginning our deployment to Mali and that’s what I am going to witness.
“I am going there to bid them a sort of farewell and go-and-fight-well greetings as they depart.
“We expect them to do what Mr. President directed that we do; he has directed that we should go and assist Mali in repelling the jihad fighters there because you know that if they finish with Mali the next thing will be to come to Nigeria.
“So we are going there to fight them and also protect our borders.
“You don’t say how many families you are sending to war; but the president has directed that we send a total of 1200 in all; but you know it is our planes that fight and we are beginning deployment this morning.
The Chief of the Airforce said his maiden visit to Enugu unit is to talk to the personnel on his vision for the Nigeria Airforce; “that we must use innovative technology because we have spent so much money buying equipment and each time they are bad we say we have to send them to the manufacturers for repairs.
“We have the know how, we have the personnel, we have so many PHD holders, we have professionals in the Airforce and we cannot too continue buying and not repairing.
“So I came to sensitize them about my vision and what we need to do in order to save the scarce resources that we have.”