-Deploys medical team to Makurdi over flood disaster
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-THE Nigerian Air Force said yesterday that its air operations against Boko Haram in the North East has taken 1.03 million litres of aviation fuel from its reserve.
This was even as it said its aircraft involved in Operation Lafiya Dole have flown about 1077 hours so far.
The Air Force also said it was at the moment in a position to provide air power beyond the country.
To this end, it asked criminals with intent to cause further killings of innocent Nigerians in the North East to rethink and possibly surrender as it vowed that its air operations in few coming weeks would be very hot for their comfort.
Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, who disclosed this in Abuja, during his opening remark at a strategic meeting with Air Force Branch Chiefs, Air Officers’ Commanding and Field Commanders, equally said he had deployed a team of medical personnel from the service to Makurdi, to attend to victims of last week’s flood in Benue State.
The strategic meeting was aimed at discussing issues bordering on the state of the Nigerian Air Force and possible ways of moving it forward.
The Air Force boss, who said the meeting was aimed at seeking possible ways of moving the service forward in line with contemporary expectations, disclosed that his administration had graduated 16 trained pilots at the Flying School Kaduna, a development he said was contrary to what obtained some 33 years ago, where the training school was only being used to graduate officer pilots.
“We have done a lot in the last few months in terms of the structure of the Nigerian Air Force,in terms of training,in terms of capacity building and in terms of maintenance.
“Reports from units indicate that we are really making substantial progress as regards responsibilities assigned to us by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The uniqueness about this set of cadets is that this nation s the first time in 32 years that the Nigerian Air Force is graduating cadets from 401 Flying Training School Kaduna, “he said.
Speaking further, Abubakar said:” In the past years,we used to graduate officers,officers graduate from Primary Flying Training in Kaduna.
But by the special grace of God and with the commitment of the Air Officer Training Commanding, the Commander and our late colleague commander, Group Captain Adanu Ochai, who was the Commanding officer of the flying wing,we have been able reverse the train.
“With the graduation of these cadets now,we are looking forward to the day when we will have cadets as instructor pilots.It has happened in the past and it’s going to happen again.”
He added:”Also since we came,we have brought into the service over 1900 recruits, who are supposed to join us in the service to support us to tackle the challenges facing our nation.
“In addition to this, about 106 Direct Short Service cadets have graduated and they have been posted already to different units of the service.
“It is also gratifying to note that we have projected air power beyond Nigeria.The C130 has contacted a number of flights to deliver relief materials to Sierra Leone
“I believe so much has been achieved but we need to evaluate all that we set out to achieve. We are not yet done,we must redouble our efforts especially in the North East.
“I know we have commenced operations in the North East which is aimed at further degrading the Boko Haram. We are going to massively dominate the entire area and make it extremely difficult for anybody that is there that is a criminal who wants to come out to kill innocent Nigerians.”
On what the service has done in its humanitarian programme, Abubakar said:
“In our humanitarian programme,we have 241 IDPs patients have been attended to free of charge.
“I have been briefed by our Chief of Medical Services today that our medical team has been deployed to Makurdi to provide medical services to the indigenes of Benue State that have been affected by recent flood.”