Nigerian Air Force Acquires More Combat Helicopters

Nigerian Air Force Acquires More Combat HelicoptersChief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, says the Nigerian Air Force has acquired two more Mi-35M combat helicopters from Russia Federation to enhance its capability in ongoing internal security efforts.

He has also given the assurance that the Nigerian Air Force remains committed to ensuring that the current gains in the war against Boko Haram terrorists in North East Nigeria is sustained.

Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, who was speaking at a media briefing in Maiduguri to acquaint the press with the activities of the Air Force in 2016, said air patrol and intelligence gathering was still in progress.

“The aircrafts have been delivered awaiting official induction after which they will be launched for operations.

“We have also installed camera on two of our Beechcrafts NAF 202 and NAF 204 and upgraded the camera on another Beechcraft NAF 201 all in 2016,”  the Air Chief stated.

The air bombardment of the camp zero and general area of the Sambisa forest by the air component of the Operation Lafia Dole paved way for the ground forces to advance and succeed in the operation.

The Air Chief said that the Air Force would not relent in its air campaign efforts to ensure that dislodged terrorists do not regroup or attack communities or the ground forces carrying out mop up operations.

According the Air Marshall, three EC-135 helicopters ceded by the  Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to the NAF in March 2016 are undergoing reactivation processes to boost the number of serviceable platforms.

Air Force Establishes New Hospital For IDPs In Bama

Sadique Abubakar, Bello Abubakar, Niger, Military
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar,

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has established a hospital in Bama, a town in Borno State, formerly occupied by Boko Haram insurgents, as part of its medical outreach.

Bama is home to 25, 000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), consisting mostly women and kids.

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, gave the state governor, Mr Kashim Shettima, a tour of the hospital, equipped to meet the health needs of the residents.

The Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the coordinating agency for humanitarian services in the state, believe that collaboration between sister agencies and support from the Nigerian Air Force medical team is responsible for the seamless defeat of malnutrition in the camp.

“The government of Borno State in conjunction with NEMA and the 31 NGOS working together were able to work together. So many tents have been built, water supply has improved and we now have two health facilities and food system has improved to meet the needs of this IDP camp.”

The health facility, initiated by the Nigerian Air Force in Bama, is an extension of the Dalori IDP camp in Maiduguri, which has been conducting surgeries for sick IDPS, at no cost, where necessary.

Explaining the vision behind the Air Force Medical Outreach, Air Chief Abubakar, said he believes that gaining the confidence of locals in the area of operations is key to winning the counter insurgency war.

Bama and Gwoza local councils of Borno State have the highest number of IDPS living in camps and the host communities.

Governor Kashim Shettima has assured that the state government is engaging in fruitful partnerships with the Presidential Initiative for rebuilding North East (PINE) and others, to facilitate the quick return of IDPS and closure of camps.

The Nigerian Air Force is a beneficiary of a N20 million grant from PINE, in support of its medical outreach.

Malnutrition among IDPs in Borno State was first reported in the unofficial camp in Bama Local Council Area.

A large part of the population of the IDPs in the Bama camp are former captives of the insurgents, who regained their freedom following intensive military operations.

At least 3, 000 malnourished persons, mostly kids, had to be evacuated to Maiduguri, the capital city for treatment and proper nutrition.

Nine weeks on, the narrative of the IDPS has changed, as they speak of changes in their diets and improved medicare.

Gohna Alkali, an IDP in the Bama camp said “we are no longer hungry, we now have food. We have doctors here taking care of us, and food and clothes we do not have any problems. They give us spaghetti for breakfast, rice and beans for lunch and semovita for dinner we are grateful to God”, he said.

Keyamo Challenges Jonathan On Appointment Of Service Chiefs

PHOTO by Channelstv.com

A Lagos based legal practitioner, Mr Festus Keyamo has written to President Goodluck Jonathan, urging him to obey and comply with a Federal High Court judgment in respect of appointments of service chiefs.

The letter was also addressed to the Senate President, David Mark, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal.

In the letter, Mr Keyamo recalled that on July 1, 2013, he obtained a judgment from the court sitting in Abuja, which declared that the appointments of the Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Army Staff and that of the Chief of Naval Staff were done without the approval of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

These appointments, the court held was contrary to Section 18 Subsection 1 and 2 of the Armed Forces Act of Nigeria, 2004.

Mr Keyamo noted that no appeal had been filed to challenge the judgment. He therefore wants the President to uphold the rule of law and not give Nigerians the impression that the military is still above the law.

The legal practitioner said that as at today, all official actions taken by the service chiefs; Lt-General Azubuike Ihejirika (Chief of Army Staff), Air Vice-Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh (Chief of The Air Staff) and Rear-Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba (Chief of Naval Staff), are null, void and of no effect in the eyes of the law.

He has therefore issued a 14 day ultimatum to the President, the Senate President and the Speaker to act and enforce the compliance of the judgment, failing which he would go back to court to compel compliance.