By ANDY ASEMOTA
THE Federal Government has approved the construction of an air range at Duguru Forest between Katsina and Zamfara states to ensure the bandits terrorising both states have no hiding place.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Saddiq Abubakar, disclosed this to newsmen at Umaru Musa Yar’Adua International Airport Katsina, yesterday, on his way to Gusau, Zamfara State, after his operational visit to the air component, Operations Hadarin Daji covering Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto States, at the 213 Forward Operating Base, FOB, Katsina.
According to him, the air range would further assist the air and ground troops of the Nigerian Air Force to work much harder to justify the enormous resources that the government is spending on their trainings, allowances and equipment.
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Saddiq said: “We are doing everything; you have seen the efforts, 14,000 flying hours is a substantial effort to make sure that these areas are secured. You must understand the vastness of the area. If you put Kaduna, Niger, Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto states together, you are talking about 186,000 square kilometres. So, we must continue to work hard with every security agency and I hope that the people will also support us with human intelligence which is very critical to this kind of war.”
The chief of air staff, who confirmed that the air force had neutralized over 300 bandits since the current Joint Task Force operation initiated by the Defence Headquarters began recently, warned bandits terrorizing the areas that it was in their interest to surrender their rifles and come of the forests to face justice.
Earlier, at the FOB in Katsina, Saddiq revealed that despite COVID-19 pandemic challenge of getting spares from Europe and other countries, the air force had been able to sustain the serviceability status of its air craft to about 82 per cent, which he described as a wonderful efforts.