The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), has reaffirmed its commitment to safeguard the nation’s territorial integrity against any form of threat.
Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, restated this commitment at the Ground Running ceremony of the L-39ZA aircraft at the 403 Flying Training School (FTC), Kano State on Friday.
‘’We are once more here in kano, as part of our efforts to ensure that every asset in NAF is mobilised and put to use to ensure the security and stability of the country.
‘’We are equally excited for witnessing the ground running of one of the re-activated L-39ZA aircraft. We are hoping that before the end of December, we should have at least three L-39ZA aircraft coming out of kano after reactivation,’’ he said.
The chief of air staff said that the ongoing exercise would surely add value to what the service was doing, in terms of fighting in the NorthEast as well as in the North-West, particularly in Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna states.
According to him, apart from the L-39ZAs, the service also hoped that before the end of December, it should be able to also add two more Alpha aircraft coming out of reactivation, stressing that these were all part of NAF’s efforts aimed at securing the country for its citizens.
“We recall that about two weeks ago, we were in Makurdi where the Federal Government is also supporting the re-activation of nine aircraft, seven to be transported to China for overhauling, while the remaining two will be overhauled here in the country.
“The most exciting thing about what we have been doing in terms of mobilising assets for the security of the country is the fact that some of these aircraft maintenance activities are done locally in the country”, Abubakar said.
He added: “This is the second time we are re-activating L-39ZA aircraft in Kano in the last five years.
Similar re-activation work is ongoing in Kainji, the second time too, as well as the F7-L9i life extension programme the second time too in Makurdi.
“We have also carried out another maintenance work on C-130 aircraft in Ikeja twice and we are preparing for the third one.
So, obviously, it is very clear that the Federal Government is doing everything humanly possible to continue to support NAF.“
Abubakar noted that all the efforts by the Federal Government were to ensure that the service had assets that could be deployed to protect the country and its citizens.
“In addition to the ongoing exercise, we have about 200 personnel in different countries, undergoing one form of training or the other. Some from kano, four in Czech Republic where the L-39ZA aircraft was manufactured.“
The chief of air staff commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his continuous support to the service and the entire military, as well as the National Assembly for their support also in making sure the service carried out its core mandate of protecting the country and its citizens.
“As we continue to work round the clock to ensure that our country is secured and that Nigerians can go about their legitimate businesses, we urge Nigerians to support the service and the entire military.
Abubakar also commended the air officer commanding FTS, and expressed the hope that by December 5, the three aircraft would be ready for deployment to other areas where their services would be needed.
Similarly, he commended the commander, engineering personnel, many of whom were benefiting from the ongoing reactivation programme.