The Nigerian Air Force, NAF, in Lagos on Wednesday said it had acquired new platforms and was currently reactivating old aircraft to better combat contemporary security challenges in the country.
The Chief of Air Staff, CAS, Sadiq Abubakar, disclosed this at the inauguration of newly built Air Force Secondary School and Airmen Transit Accommodation at 401 Communications Depot, Shasha, Lagos State.
Mr. Abubakar said the in-country reactivation of NAF’s aircraft was one of the gains in building personnel capacity, adding that six Alpha Jet engines earlier reactivated were already being flown.
He added that “recently, we reactivated six engines of Alpha Jets that would have been taken outside the country.
“Those six engines have been mounted on the aircraft and now flying.
“We inducted MI-35 helicopter and helicopter gunships in Makurdi recently through the help of federal government.
“We are tying as much as possible to attend to the welfare of officers and men as they are putting in their best and we are seeing the benefits in their inputs.”
The chief of air staff said some NAF personnel were being trained abroad and would come back home to save the country of resources that would have been spent abroad.
“This has contributed immensely toward equipping the service to conduct counter insurgency operations and also contend with other emerging security challenges across the country.
“Be assured that we will continue to do our best in meeting our statutory responsibilities of defending the territorial integrity of the nation,”
On the inaugurated school and accommodation, Mr. Abubakar said education was key in human capital development and a key factor in technical advancement and innovation.
He said “we made a quick assessment of the available primary and secondary schools in our bases and identified some gaps.
“These gaps necessitated the upgrade of some of the schools, building and additional ones to meet the educational requirements of our personnel’s dependants and the host communities.
“NAF School Shasha has 18 classrooms, five laboratories, a library and recreational facilities, as well as offices for the commandant and other members of staff,” he said.
Mr. Abubakar said airmen would stay in the transit accommodation for some months with a view to ensuring improved mentorship and post-recruitment training for enhanced performance.
“Each block consists of 30 fully furnished self-contained rooms. Similar blocks are being provided in major Nigerian NAF bases across the country,” he said.
Earlier, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Ibrahim Yahaya, said the accommodation was built to meet the growing accommodation needs of personnel.
“Two other projects are also currently ongoing in this base — a block of 18 flats of two-bedrooms for Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCO) and new Corporals and below mess.
“The CAS on April 19, last year, promised to construct the classrooms and was reminded of the urgent need for a secondary school to address the difficulty experienced by personnel’s children.
“In line with his policy of efficient service delivery, the CAS promptly gave authorisation for the establishment of a secondary school in Shasha.
“Like many other units and bases across the country, the NAF base Shasha has benefitted immensely from different projects, including the construction of a drainage system.”