The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar on Wednesday completed an operational visit to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) 305 Special Mobility Group (SMG) Calabar, Cross River State.
The visit was essentially to inspect operational facilities, identify challenges and commission recently completed projects.
Accordingly, the CAS commissioned 3 blocks of newly constructed 6 by one bedroom transit accommodation for airmen/airwomen serving at the NAF Base in Calabar.
The commissioning of the buildings is in furtherance of the current NAF leadership’s determination to eliminate the challenge of insufficient accommodation as well as provide befitting housing for NAF personnel.
In his remarks at the commissioning ceremony, the CAS noted that the insufficiency of personnel accommodation within the barracks had affected NAF operations.
According to him, “the provision of accommodation for personnel in dispersed locations has had negative implications on regimentation, security and the ability to rapidly deploy personnel at short notice”.
It therefore became imperative for the current NAF leadership to address the NAF’s lingering accommodation deficit to improve personnel welfare with a view to enhancing operational effectiveness.
He gladly announced that 73 per cent of NAF personnel are now accommodated in the barracks.
While commissioning the accommodation, retired Air Marshal Nsikak Eduok, one time CAS, said that he had been observing the highly commendable efforts of Air Marshal Abubakar in providing accommodation for personnel at NAF Bases all over the country.
He therefore advised him to sustain his excellent performance.
Air Marshal Eduok also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the provision of resources to cater for the welfare of personnel while praising the CAS for judiciously utilizing appropriated funds.
He then enjoined all NAF personnel to reciprocate Mr. President’s kind gesture by continuing to do well in the onerous task of defending the nation’s territorial integrity.
The State Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu, represented the Executive Governor of Cross Rivers State, Senator Professor Ben Ayade, at the commissioning ceremony.
The Governor commended the highly professional manner the personnel of the NAF deployed to the State had been conducting themselves.
He then reiterated the readiness of the State Government to continue to support the Unit in every possible way.
Earlier in the day, the CAS had paid a courtesy call on Governor Ben Ayade, whom he thanked for the support the NAF was enjoying from the State.
He then stated the purpose of his visit to Calabar, adding that he was also going to commission accommodation for NAF personnel serving at 305 SMG Calabar.
Air Marshal Abubakar restated his belief that the human being is the most important asset in every organization and hence, his reason for making welfare a priority, aside from air operations and aircraft reactivation efforts.
In his response, Governor Ayade noted with delight that much of the success in the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the Northeast was attributable to the constant air strikes by the NAF.
Moreover, he stated his belief that the turnaround that was being witnessed in the fortunes of the NAF was a reflection of the sterling leadership qualities of Air Marshal Abubakar.
According to the Governor, the NAF of today had become more responsive, better equipped and smarter.
Considering the peculiarities of Cross River State, the Governor then requested for the deployment of a helicopter to the NAF Base in Calabar towards enhancing security in the State.
In response, the CAS highlighted the efforts of the Federal Government at reactivating aircraft to further increase aircraft serviceability in the NAF.
In addition, he stated that the NAF was at the verge of inducting the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), which it had locally designed, produced and recently operationalized.
He then promised that consideration would be given to deploying the NAF’s helicopter and UAVs to enhance security in Cross River State.
The CAS and members of his team have since returned to Abuja after the operational tour of the NAF Base in Calabar.