By Raphael Jov, Abuja
In its bid to curtail armed banditry and other security challenges in Zamfara State, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has constructed and commissioned 2 new helipads at 207 Quick Response Group (207 QRG) in Gusau.
The 2 helipads, which were commissioned on 13 June 2018, would enable NAF combat helicopter gunships to operate from Gusau thereby increasing their reach during air operations within Zamfara State and environs.
The construction of the helipads is part of measures by the NAF leadership at enhancing its air operations in support of NAF Special Forces and other security agencies in the State.
Speaking during the commissioning, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, represented by the Air Officer Commanding, Special Operations Command, Air Vice Marshal Ismaila Kaita said the commissioning of the helipads shows NAF’s commitment to collaborate with other security agencies to tackle the insecurity challenges facing Zamfara State.
According to him, “these efforts would undoubtedly provide the reach and ubiquity of projecting air power in response to the current security challenges in the State”.
The CAS further stated that the impact of the activities of criminal elements, particularly in Zamfara State, underscores the need for the provision of requisite infrastructure to deal with emerging threats.
Air Marshal Abubakar added that the NAF would, therefore, continue to place high premium on robust logistics support while not neglecting the issues of human capacity development and personnel welfare for efficient and effective operational capability.
The CAS also seized the opportunity to appreciate the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his unflinching support to the NAF through the provision of necessary resources to fulfill its statutory responsibilities.
Earlier in his remarks, the Commander of 207 QRG, Group Captain Caleb Olayera, said that the newly constructed helipads would greatly assist the Unit to respond more swiftly to security needs in the State, as helicopters could now take off and land from the new helipads in Gusau.
The Commander therefore thanked the CAS for his commitment and relentless efforts to ensure that the Unit achieves its objective.
It would be recalled that the NAF established 207 QRG under the Special Operations Command, in November 2016, to provide force protection and conduct special operations in support of NAF operations in the Northwestern part of the country.
The Unit is also tasked to provide support to civilian authority in form of anti-kidnapping, anti-rustling and aircraft anti-hijack operations amongst others.