By Joseph Erunke
THE Nigerian Air Force has named one of its newly constructed buildings in Abuja after late Group Captain Ubong Nnamso Akpan, its pilot that died in Boko Haram war.
The late senior officer, who was a combat helicopter pilot, died while on a combat mission in counterinsurgency operations in the Northeast on 13 November 2014.
The service, in a statement, Wednesday evening by its spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said the development was in line with its tradition of immortalising fallen heroes.
“In keeping with its tradition of immortalising fallen heroes, especially those that paid the supreme price while serving the nation, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has named a newly built block of six 3-bedroom flats at the NAF Base, Asokoro, Abuja after late Group Captain Ubong Nnamso Akpan,” the statement said.
It reads further: “The building project, which was commissioned today, 26 June 2019, by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence (MOD), Mrs Nuratu Batagarawa, was executed in furtherance of the Federal Government’s determination to meet the residential accommodation needs of officers and men of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN).
“Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, the Permanent Secretary assured the NAF of the commitment of the Federal Government towards ensuring adequate provision of basic infrastructures for AFN personnel through befitting office and residential accommodations as well other welfare incentives.
“According to her, given the statutory mandate of safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation, the AFN deserves befitting welfare packages. “Therefore, we are determined to continue to accord due attention to the welfare of our troops and continue to pursue these projects steadily, within the limit of available resources”, she said.
“Speaking further, Mrs Batagarawa used the occasion to acknowledge the robust support and encouragement of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, without which, she said, the numerous projects and operational feats being celebrated would not have been possible.
“She added that the Ministry would not relent in its efforts to continue to boost the morale of personnel of the AFN for enhanced professional performance. The Permanent Secretary also expressed her appreciation to the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for the cooperation extended to the Ministry by the Nigeria Air Force towards the successful implementation of the project.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chief of “Administration (COA) Headquarters NAF, Air Vice Marshal Kingsley Lar, noted that the new block would not only provide the needed comfort for the beneficiaries but also augment the numerous ones being provided by the administration of Air Marshal Abubakar in ameliorating the accommodation challenges of NAF personnel in Abuja.
“The COA recalled, with nostalgia, the enormous contributions of late Group Captain Akpan to the Service and the nation, particularly in the counterinsurgency operations.
“He noted that the late senior officer paid the supreme price while in active duty, hence the need to immortalize him. He expressed NAF’s continued commitment to support the families of all fallen heroes in all respects while urging all serving personnel to remain unwavering in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities.
“Highlights of the occasion included the reading of the citation/Service Record of late Group Captain Akpan and presentation of keys to the beneficiaries of the new accommodation.”