The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has said the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is set for final battle to rout the Boko Haram terrorist group. The NAF also said it is battle ready to wipe off militants groups in the Niger Delta region.
Abubakar made this known at a workshop organized for newly posted field commanders and award for dedicated personnel and civilian staff in Abuja. He therefore charged officers and men, especially field commanders, to maintain the current tempo with a view to achieving the onerous task.
He also charged them to ensure that they keep the country peaceful and secured in the face of the current security challenges in the country. He said defeating the two groups has become necessary to ensure that the labour of Nigeria’s past heroes would not be in vain. The NAF chief, while lamenting that the country is faced with series of problems threatening to destroy the country’s foundation as laid by its founding fathers, said: “We are living in extraordinary times with myriads of problems threatening to shake the foundation laid by the founding fathers of this great nation and by extension, threatening to erode the labour of our heroes past.
“As Chief of the Air Staff, I have had the privilege of commanding men and women, who showed courage in the face of terror, exhibited strength where others saw fear and applied ingenuity where others perceived impossibility.
“Most importantly, I have enjoyed the honour and rare privilege of serving under the selfless, visionary and resilient leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. These combination of factors imbued us with the courage needed to win at all fronts as a force – be it against Boko Haram terrorism in the North East or militancy in the South – South or the myriads of other security challenges nationwide”.
He said the workshop was aimed at both equipping the new commanders and reminding older ones of their responsibilities in line with the Nigerian Air Force expectations.
In a related development, the NAF honored two of its late pilots, Group Captain Gabriel Ochai, who lost his life in an air mishap involving a NAF Air Beetle aircraft on August 24, 2017 in Kaduna and Wing Commander Chimda Hedima, who died in Borno State during battle with Boko Haram in September 2014.
He said the honour to the personnel was aimed at “celebrating our personnel that have demonstrated courage, resilience, commitment, ingenuity and dedication to service within the purview of their assigned tasks.
“The men and women that would be honoured today represent a sample of the many resilient hearts that the Nigerian Air Force is proud of. I have always believed that an airman should be upright and not kept upright; these men and women have reaffirmed that belief.
“By their efforts, I have no doubt that we are on our way to building the Air Force of our dreams and the kind of a fighting force the nation yearns for.”
He pointed out that unlike previous CAS Awards ceremonies, the event was unique because “it is not only Nigerian Air Force personnel that are being honoured. We have taken the additional step of recognizing some of the civilians who have added value to our efforts at ensuring the territorial integrity of our fatherland.”
“By their actions, these unique civilians have proved that the quest for peace and security in Nigeria, just like the rest of the world, requires the combination of the efforts of all Nigerians, irrespective of their affiliations or status. It goes without saying therefore that indeed, security is “everybody’s business”.
He reminded the awardees not to loose steam. “Although this award is in recognition of your contributions towards the actualization of key Nigerian Air Force objectives, it is also tagged with a burden of responsibility and trust that you cannot afford to betray.
“Consequently, I urge you to keep moving and please, carry your colleagues along in the spirit of togetherness that the military is known for. Let us not forget the many others that are not in the limelight at this very moment, their contributions to the progress of the service would not go un-saluted.”
The awardees include Air Vice Marshal Charles Owho, the best Component Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, late Instructor Pilot, Air Commodore OG Ochai (post humous), Air Commodore Augustine Imafidon, Group Captain Albert Bot, Wing Commander AA Hadima (Post Humus), Wing Commander FE Ganiyu and Flight Lieutenant Nkedilim Anwuli.
Others are Engineer Olajide Suleiman, Mr. Amstrong Buba, Warrant Officer Omodara JS, Sgt Abdulmalik Ibrahim, Lance Corporal Okoye NE, and Aircraftman Aliyu MS.