The Nigerian Air Force on Saturday said it would soon launch aerial operation in the South-South to protect critical infrastructure and the people of the region.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, said that having substantially addressed the security situation in the North-East, the focus of the NAF was to prevent the destruction of the nation’s infrastructure.
He made the disclosure at the quarterly route march for personnel of the NAF in Abuja on Saturday.
Abubakar challenged the officers and men of the service to be ready at all time to respond effectively to the task of defending the territorial integrity of the country.
He said, “Be ready that at any time you are called to serve in the defence of the Nigerian state; you will be willing to do so out there and do it with every sense of patriotism.
“The challenges in the North-East have been substantially addressed, so we are not too worried now about the North-East. Our main focus will now be to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria in the South-South and to ensure that oil and gas facilities are not destroyed by any group or group of individuals.
“ Soon, we will launch an exercise in the South-South and the aim of the exercise is to protect our people and the infrastructure of Nigeria.”
He explained that the route march was organised to give the leadership of the service the opportunity to have an appraisal of the tasks given to younger officers and airmen.
Abubakar added that the service was keen on a perfect state of health for its personnel as the current security challenges facing the country required the best form of health and physical wellbeing of the officers.
Meanwhile, the NAF on Saturday launched aerial patrol of the Federal Capital Teritory, the Abuja-Kaduna Highway, Birnin Gwari-Kaduna Highway, the Falgore Forest area, Minna general area and the Kano-Kaduna Highway.
The Air Officer Commanding Training, NAF, Kaduna, AVM Nurudeen Balogun, who inaugurated the patrol of the FCT and other areas in the North-West, said Abubakar directed a combination of operations to ensure that the FCT was covered.
He said the aerial operation was directed at kidnappers, armed robbers and cattle rustlers operating in the areas.
Balogun said, “With all the security issues bedeviling the North-East, North-West and also the FCT, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has directed that we should combine the operations ongoing in those areas and ensure that the FCT is covered.’’
He further said the service had made provision for three light utility helicopters for effective coordination of operations with ground forces to tackle any security breach.