The Nigerian Air Force, under the leadership of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, has deployed its fighter Aircraft to Minna, Niger State, from where they are presently conducting air attacks on bandits and their locations, in the North-West geopolitical zone.
The aircraft are shuttling between Minna and Katsina State, the Air Force said on Monday.
It was gathered that 3 newly acquired attack helicopters, 2 Agusta 109 109P helicopters and 1 Mi-171E helicopter, would be deployed to the North-West States, after their induction, on Thursday.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, in an interview, said that 2 attack helicopters are already operating from Minna, adding that, the outcome of some raids on bandits would be disclosed to the public, while others might be concealed.
He said: “In the North-West, which includes Niger State, some fuelling facilities had been made available at the Airport, in Minna, and aircraft have been deployed there. 2 attack helicopters and other platforms would be shuttling from Minna to Katsina, for operations.
“So basically, we have deployed air assets to Niger State, and we did not deploy them to go and relax. We are going to do the induction of new aircraft, on Thursday, and they are immediately going to be deployed. If we conduct raids, we will tell you, but of course, there are some raids that we will conduct and we may not necessarily tell you.”
NAF had last week Tuesday, said that it would deploy “additional air assets, as well as its Regiment and Special Forces personnel”, to the troubled areas in the North-West States.
The Air Force disclosed that the deployments are to curtail banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, and other related crimes.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, confirmed this when the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, met with him at NAF Headquarters, Abuja.
“We have emplaced infrastructure at Daura, in Katsina State, and Gusau, in Zamfara State, to cater to the additional personnel and air assets that would be deployed. A helipad had been constructed at Birnin Magaji, in Zamfara State”, the Air Chief noted.
NAF has also inaugurated a Canine K-9 Wing, in Bauchi State, under the NAF 057 Provost Investigation Group, to contribute to the war against boko haram insurgency, in the North-East.
The Air Force said in a release on Monday, that it now has 40 Military working dogs, and 20 Air Provost personnel trained in “explosive and narcotic substance detection, waterman-ship, navigation, and repelling”.
20 Air Provost personnel comprising of 3 Officers and 17 airmen/airwomen for the 057 Provost Investigation Group, K-9 Wing, situated at the Air Operations Command, Bauchi, were trained.
Speaking while inaugurating the wing in Bauchi, on Monday, Abubakar said that with the evolving trends of security threats in the country, it was necessary for NAF to consciously device ways to address potential security challenges to its operational effectiveness.
He was represented by the Chief of Administration, NAF Headquarters, Air Vice Marshal, Mohammed Idris, in the occasion.
Sadique also on Monday, inaugurated Commando Training Village, at 209 Quick Response Squad Headquarters of NAF Base, Ipetu Ijesa, Osun State.
Represented by Air Vice Marshal Idi Amin, Sadique maintained that the Federal Government has invested so much to improve skills and build capacity of men and Officers of NAF, to ensure that they are combat ready in the fight against insecurity in the country.
Sadique said: “It is worthy of note that NAF has already constructed 2 other villages in Kaduna and Bauchi, to familiarise our personnel with operations in the savannah and arid terrain. This village will bring additional dimension to our training, by allowing us to conduct more training using the peculiarities of the jungle environment here in Ipetu-ljesa.”
In his remarks, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, of Osun State, noted that the presence of the training village in the State, would assist in organising more realistic exercises against insurgency, terrorism, and banditry, in the country.
Oyetola, who was represented by his Deputy, Benedict Alabi, said that the Initiative would further enhance the skills and competence of the men and Officers of the Air Force.