The newly-appointed Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Hassan Abubakar, formally assumed office on Thursday with a pledge to breathe new life into the ongoing war against banditry, terrorism, and other forms of insecurity bedevilling the country.
Abubakar, who acknowledged that Nigerians have high expectations from the security agencies to tackle insecurity in the country, promised that the Air Force under his watch would work in synergy with other security agencies to rid the country of criminal elements.
He spoke after assuming office as the 22nd Chief of Air Staff in Abuja on Thursday.
He said, “My appointment is coming at the time that the expectations of Nigerians towards accelerated actualisation of peace and security are very high. I want to use this occasion to restate our commitment to reinvigorate our fight against terrorism, insurgency, banditry, and a host of other challenges.
The cooperation and synergy with other agencies contributed immensely to the successes achieved in the various theatre of operations. In conjunction with my colleagues, we will uphold these attributes in line with the President’s directive issued during the first National Security Council meeting.”
Abubakar said under his watch, the Air Force would introduce more measures to strengthen activities at the various theatre of operations.
Abubakar said, “We shall also begin to take additional measures and approaches that will continue to diminish our challenges and enhance the disposition of our various theatres of operations. We shall continue to exhibit exemplary commitment and sustain efforts to overcome any threat to the peace and security of our great nation, Nigeria.”
The new CAS also pledged his loyalty to the President.
On his part, the outgoing CAS, Air Marshal Oludayo Amao, said despite challenges the service under his leadership was able to record successes in areas such as doctrine development, air operations, human capacity development, fleet enhancement, establishment of new units, directorates, logistics support, system research and development, personnel management, as well as safety standards.
“Our capacity to conduct air operations across the full perfect spectrum of air power, employment, and projections have significantly improved.
“The Nigerian Air Force is now able to effectively conduct simultaneous combat operations, night operations, and precision strikes,” Amao added.
He said a total of 7,424 personnel were trained during his tenure, adding that this helped the service to overcome the shortage of combat pilots experienced in the past.
He said, “In the past two and a half years, the Nigerian Air Fore trained and retrained personnel for professional and operational effectiveness. For instance, the Nigerian Air Force conducted training for a total of 7,424 personnel out of which 5,945 were trained locally and 1,479 were trained overseas. This number is also inclusive of the 429 pilots and 203 UED operators. These efforts in particular reduce the acute shortage of combat pilots that we used to have in the past.”
Amao urged his successor to build on the legacies of his predecessors to ensure the optimal operational capacity capability of the service, adding that they would help him in the ongoing efforts to eradicate insurgencies, banditry, and other forms of criminality in the country.