- NAF reactivates more aircraft, completes base defence coordination centre to enhance intelligence gathering•
The Nigerian military said there is an ongoing plan to relocate the residents of Baga, a town that recently came under the attack of Boko Haram insurgents.
The military authorities said the planned relocation is to give room for massive bombardment of the terrorist group and to prevent civilian casualties.
The military revealed the plan on Sunday in a signed statement by the Deputy Director Public Relations in charge of the counter-insurgency operations in the North East (Operation Lafiya Dole), Col. Onyema Nwachukwu.
The statement said: “Operation LAFIYA DOLE troops in conjunction with Borno State Government are working towards relocating the residents of Baga, to safer locations in view of the ongoing military operations in the area.”
The statement however said that there was no basis for the people of Bama, Dikwa and Monguno to vacate their respective communities, as there was no immediate threat to their lives and property.
It said: It has been observed that some unscrupulous individuals with likely sinister motives within and outside Borno State, are trying to create panic and unnecessary humanitarian problems for undisclosed reasons.
“It has come to our attention that these people are plotting to instigate the inhabitants of Bama, Dikwa and Monguno communities to abandon their communities and relocate to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camps for undisclosed reasons.”
The statement advised: The inhabitants of these towns and the general public to discountenance such calls and remain calm.
It promised that: “Theatre Command, Operation LAFIYA DOLE and other Security Agencies will shed more light on the issue in a Security Council meeting with the Borno State Government, scheduled to hold on Monday 31st December 2018.”
It urged the members of the public to remain calm, stating that “the military is in firm control to guarantee their safety and security.”
The statement however warned that any attempt to cause further panic through this false alarm would be viewed very seriously.
In furtherance of the commitment of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to ensure availability of more serviceable platforms for the prosecution of the ongoing war against insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on 29 December 2018, during his operational visit to 115 Special Operations Group (115 SOG) Port Harcourt, inspected the ongoing in-house reactivation works on Mi-35P and EC-135 helicopters.
Upon completion in the first quarter of 2019, the reactivated aircraft would be available for deployment to enhance NAF operational efficiency in the discharge of its constitutional roles.
The operational visit to 115 SOG was one of the series of visits by the CAS to NAF units across the country to assess the operational readiness in tackling emerging security challenges as well as progress of work on the reactivation of various platforms. The CAS, who was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans (COPP) NAF Headquarters, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Muhammodu Muhammed, was conducted on an inspection tour of the completed Base Defence Coordination Centre (BDCC) by the Commander 115 SOG, Air Commodore Elijah Ebiowe.
He also commissioned a new block of 18 single-bedroom Corporals and below quarters. The BDCC, which is equipped with communications and surveillance equipment to boost the operational capacity of the unit in the area of intelligence gathering and real time coordination of the Base Defence Plan, would also help in timely response to security exigencies within the Unit’s Area of Responsibility (AOR).
While speaking during the visit, the CAS stated that the current NAF administration places high premium on the welfare needs of personnel, as evidenced by the various projects embarked upon across NAF units to meet accommodation and other welfare needs.
Air Marshal Abubakar thanked the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for providing a conducive environment for the Service to function effectively and efficiently.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Tactical Air Command (TAC), AVM Oladayo Amao, thanked the CAS for providing the human and material resources to accomplish numerous projects in NAF Base Port Harcourt.
According to him, the CAS’ footprints were clearly visible throughout the entire TAC with the completion of several other projects, in addition to ongoing ones.
“I can assure you that, these and other projects in 115 SOG are only a fraction of the overall efforts by the CAS to improve the well-being of our increasing number of personnel in various NAF Bases across the country.
“We are grateful for the guidance and strategic direction from Headquarters NAF in the areas of infrastructural development and operational efficiency”, he said.