By Gift Onyedinefu
President Muhamnadu Buhari has inducted two Agusta 109 Power Helicopters for the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) which were recently delivered.
Buhari, who was represented by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the NAF 55th Anniversary and unveiling of the Aircrafts expressed hope that the employment of the newly acquired platforms would add impetus to the combat efficiency Force.
Buhari said the induction of the newly acplatforms is in fulfilment of his promise to end to Boko Haram insurgency and tackle other security threats.
He therefore charged the NAF to consolidate on the gains of air power towards sustaining peace and stability.
“These helicopters will surely boost performance of the Nigerian Air Force constitutional roles. I therefore charge you to redouble your efforts towards protecting our national interests, while at the same time degrading national security threats.”
The president also appreciated the Armed Forces in their effort to combat terror.
He said: I appreciate and the invaluable contributions armed forces and other security agencies towards the defeat of Boko Haram and other security challenges bedevilling our dear nation.
“Specifically, the contributions of the Nigerian Air Force in addressing the security challenges in the North West against armed banditry/cattle rustling and kidnapping is also appreciated.”
The president also announced that in addition to the two new Attack Helicopters, a fleet of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft from the United States of America, is expected to be delivered in 2020.
The NAF Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Sadique Abubakar in his remarks said the Aircrafts will improve the combat capability of the Force especially in the counter-insurgency operations in the North East, anti-banditry and anti-kidnapping operations in the North West.
The Air Chief noted that growth of the NAF since the inception of the Service has been particularly outstanding.
“From having only a few trainers and transport aircraft in the early years of the Service, the Nigerian Air Force currently has an impressive ORBAT comprising diverse aircraft with capabilities to perform a wide spectrum of missions,” he said.