By Peter Uwumarogie
As part of the effort to activate the 203 Combat Reconnaissance Base in Gombe State, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has said more than 71 of its personnel are currently in China on a special training.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, disclosed this on Tuesday in Gombe when he paid a courtesy visit on Gov. Inuwa Yahaya.
Abubakar stated that all the personnel who had been in China for about four months were expected back in the country next week and would be relocated to Gombe State.
He said that the NAF Base in Gombe State was strategic not only in the fight against insurgency but “also in the fight against banditry and other criminal activities in the north.
“We are very excited that we are going to have this unit activated,’’ he said.
He added that Special Forces unit would also be deployed as it is the tradition of NAF to protect its assets, adding that some of them had been posted to the state already.
He said that in terms of infrastructure, NAF had made substantial progress in constructing roads and accommodation for airmen and officers to ensure that the base took off soonest.
The CAS assured Nigerians that the NAF, in collaboration with sister services, would continue to do everything “humanly possible to ensure that the territorial integrity of Nigeria and its national sovereignty is not undermined by any bunch of criminals.’’
“We will continue working round-the-clock to make sure that Nigeria is secure and people are able to go about pursuing their legitimate aspirations without fears,’’ he said.
Abubakar also assured farmers in the state, whose crops were destroyed in the course of construction of the NAF base, that they would be compensated as steps had already been taken in that regard.
On his part, Gov. Yahaya commended the CAS and NAF for their efforts in ensuring the speedy completion of the base to strengthen security in the sub-region and the country at large.
Yahaya stated that the establishment of the base in the state would help the fight against insecurity in the country and when such is achieved the economy of the country would also improve.
He decried the level of insecurity in the country, adding that “if we are not careful enough to make sure we address these issues from escalating’’ there would be no peace in future.
He added that Gombe State and its people were “ready, open and willing’’ to welcome initiative to achieve peace for the overall good of Nigerians’’.
He assured the NAF of the continuous support of the government and good people of the state in order for them to succeed in the quest to proffer solutions to the security challenges of the country. (NAN)