President Bola Tinubu has implored the Nigerian military and other security agencies to intensify efforts at containing the multi-dimensional security challenges in the country.
Tinubu gave the charge on Tuesday during the induction of two TK-129 ATAK Helicopters and a King Air 360i Aircraft at Nigeria Air (NAF) Base, Makurdi, in Benue state.
A statement by the Spokesperson of Vice President Kashim Shettima, said President Tinubu was represented at the event by Shettima.
He restated the administration’s continued support to the nation’s security forces through the modernization of fleets, training and welfare of personnel.
He recalled the commissioning and induction of four additional Diamond-62 surveillance aircraft into the arsenal of the Nigerian Air Force about two months ago.
This, according to him, is a symbol of government’s enduring commitment to the ideals of patriotism and investment in the nation’s security.
“Indeed, our solemn commitment to safeguarding Nigeria’s security hinges on the realisation that without vigilant attention to the needs of our Armed Forces who are saddled with the maintenance of peace, law, order and stability, anarchy and lawlessness would surely prevail.
He noted that the acquisition of helicopters and aircraft had become necessary to improve the strategic use of air power in combating terrorism, insurgency and other security challenges plaguing the nation.
He also urged the nation’s security forces to step up their game.
“I have no doubt that the deployment of these platforms would add impetus to the combat efficiency of the Nigerian Air Force in addressing our contemporary security challenges, not only within the shores of our country but also in the West African region.
“We are committed to taking the right steps to achieve the desired results.
“The acquisition of these aircraft amongst other military equipment despite our budgetary constraints, is an expression of our commitment.
“We shall ensure that every sector of our nation benefits from the change that we promised.
“I therefore expect discipline in operation and a strong maintenance culture that will enable the nation to derive maximum benefits from these acquisitions.”
He recalled how the Nigerian Air Force, since establishment in 1964, had been playing critical roles in national security, peace-keeping and humanitarian operations globally.
“Its contributions to the sustenance and maintenance of peace and security in places like the Gambia, Guinea, Mozambique, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Cameroun, have not only been a source of pride to Nigeria but have projected the nation as a reliable regional power.
“This is indeed most commendable just as the Nigerian Air Force continues to synergize with other security agencies in curtailing the threats posed by terrorists, insurgents and other criminal elements in the country.”
He expressed delight that coordination among security agencies has improved significantly.
Tinubu declared that there was no room for celebrations until we put an end to the security logjam, bring our troops back to their localities, and until we can free up resources for our critical economic expansion programme.
“I congratulate the Chief of the Air Staff and all the personnel of the Air Force on this occasion of the commissioning of the T-129 ATAK helicopters and King Air 360i aircraft into the Service.
“At this juncture, I hereby induct the 2 x T -129 ATAK helicopters as NAF 500 and NAF 501 and King Air 360i as NAF 205 into the Service of the Nigerian Air Force and our country.”
Earlier, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, said the event was a testimony of the Federal Government’s unwavering resolve to equip and empower the air force and enhance its capacity to address security challenges.
He thanked President Tinubu for enabling the Nigerian Air Force to acquire seven new aircraft within six months of his administration.
He disclosed that the Air Force is currently overhauling its operational platforms, equipment and the entire environment to improve its efficiency and service delivery.
Also, the Minister of Defence, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru, said the induction of the new platforms for the air force was a testimony of President Tinubu’s resolve to add impetus to the armed forces’ fight against security challenges.
He commended the armed forces for the commitment in executing their assignments in line with the counter-terrorism plan of the present administration.
The minister urged the military to imbibe a positive maintenance culture in utilizing platforms purchased by the government. (NAN)