The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has disclosed that the establishment of the NAF Ground Training Command (GTC) in Enugu state was primarily to enhance the security of lives and properties of Nigerians in the southeast of the country.
He made this known on Wednesday, May 2, during the ground breaking and foundation laying ceremony of the headquarters complex of GTC at Gabon Village in Enugu state.
Shortly before the ceremony, the CAS paid a courtesy call on the governor of Enugu state, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, at Government House, Enugu, where he thanked the governor for the state’s contributions to efforts at ensuring that the new command takes off in earnest.
He added that it was an indication of Governor Ugwuanyi’s interest in the security of his people and indeed all Nigerians. Furthermore, the CAS reiterated the commitment of the NAF to the security of all Nigerians, particularly those in the southeast, and hence, the siting of the new NAF Command in Enugu, in addition to its 211 Regiment Group in Owerri.
He also explained that the GTC is very strategic in the scheme of things as NAF operations are no longer limited to the air, with the advent of its special forces, which operate on the ground to combat Nigeria’s contemporary security challenges.
In addition, Air Marshal Abubakar stated that the NAF was set to deploy its special forces to the recently established Quick Response Wing in Nguroje, Taraba state, as part of efforts at improving nationwide security. Air Marshal Abubakar then revealed the NAF’s plans to build a reference hospital in Enugu for the benefit of personnel, their dependants and members of the civil populace.
In his response, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi lauded the NAF leadership for its pragmatic efforts at ensuring that the whole of the country is safe for all Nigerians. He noted that Enugu state had enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the NAF, particularly in the area of security.
The governor then expressed his delight over the decision of the NAF to locate the GTC in Enugu, noting that it would further cement the existing cordial relationship between the NAF and Enugu state.
During the ceremony, the CAS announced plans to bring additional combat helicopters to the NAF unit in the state towards boosting air operations and internal security in the south-east. He added that plans were on-going to establish a Quick Response Wing in one of the local government areas in the state to bring security closer to the people.
The CAS further announced plans to upgrade facilities at the Air Force Comprehensive School Enugu to make it one of the best in the country. He had earlier urged everyone at the occasion to observe a minute’s silence in honour of late Air Commodore EO Akinbayo, the former commander of 553 Base Services Group Enugu, who died on the eve of the date originally scheduled for the ceremony.
Meanwhile, activities for this year’s NAF day celebration 2018 are in top gear as all is set for the historic event scheduled to take place at the Nigerian Air Force Base, Kaduna from Friday, May 4 to Saturday, May 5.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Enhancing Nigerian Air Force Operational Capability for Timely Employment of Air Power in Response to Contemporary Security Challenges.”