President Muhammad Buhari on Thursday commended the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) for reviewing its order of battle in respect of the current and emerging threats facing the country.
Buhari made the commendation in Bauchi while inaugurating a 60-bed Reference Hospital constructed by NAF at its 251 Special Operations Command, Bauchi.
He said that the establishment of the command located within the hospital was the most recent testimony by NAF.
“The initiative confirms our collective commitment to tackle any threat to the security of our country.
” The Air Force remains a key component of the Armed Forces in its constitutional role of providing aid to civil authorities across the country.
“These services are: normal surveillance, security at airports, emergency assistance and resettlement of displaced persons,” he said.
He said that the hospital was part of the growing commitment to enhance the welfare of troops in the Theatre of Operations.
He commended the Service Chiefs and military commanders for ensuring that the welfare and well being of the troops were given priority at all times.
Buhari said that “the credible performances of our men of late attest to the effectiveness of Nigerian Air Force, especially as they give air support to ground troops.
“I once again express my profound sympathy over receiving deaths of some of our gallant officers and men.
“I have received assurance from the service chiefs that additional forces and protection measures are being put in place to safeguard our troops,” he said.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal, Sadique Abubakar, appreciated the support NAF had enjoyed under the present administration, saying, “it has positioned the service to effectively discharge its statutory responsibility.”
Sadique said that the effect of the President’s support had manifested in the various theatre of operations especially in the geopolitical zones of the country.
“In the North-East alone, NAF has flown 14,803 flying hours, 29 minutes providing close air support, logistic re-supply, combat racce/patrol, battle interdiction and ISR rules to create enabling environment for our ground troops to undertake their operations with little or no hindrance, “he said ”
He said that the commissioning of NAF 60-bed Reference Hospital by the president was another giant stride of the service under the current administration.
Sadique said that although the hospital was established to provide services to NAF personnel and indeed the Armed Forces, it had been extended to the host communities.
He said that it would enhance cordial relationship that exists between NAF and the host communities.
Abubakar said that NAF had embarked on deliberate upgrade of its medical facilities through the existing infrastructure, provision of modern equipment.
“So far, NAF has provided medical care to over 233, 720 IDPs through medical outreach programmes in Borno and Adamawa as well as the FCT.
“I addition, NAF has established emergency hospitals in Dalori and Bama IDPs camps and upgraded the state clinic in Malkohi IDPs camp in Yola.
“In the same vein, NAF has also organised series of surgery for 1,871 people with eye and other surgical problems who were operated upon and treated free of charge,” he said.
The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, said that the present administration would continue to provide infrastructure and facilities to the military to enable them perform.
Dan-Ali said that the action would promote professionalism and platform within the ranks and file of the armed forces.
He commended President Buhari for providing the Nigerian Armed Forces with facilities that had enabled them to excel in all fields of operations.