As the fight against insurgency intensifies particularly in the North East subregion, President Muhammadu Buhari has been commended for his pragmatic leadership in supporting the expansion of the Nigerian Air Force to enable it complement what other forces are doing to win the war.
The commendation was made by the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshall Sadique Baba Abubakar while speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony to mark the commencement of operations of the 203 Combat Reconnaissance Group of the Nigerian Air Force in Gombe.
He also commended the state governor, Inuwa Yahaya for his zeal and determination towards the establishment of the base in Gombe.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), also disclosed that prior to the coming of the present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Force had only two operations units in Yola and Maiduguri but that at present, NAF has established units in virtually all the states within the North-East sub-region.
Sadique Abubakar informed the governor that men and platforms have already been deployed to the Forward Operational base in Gombe and will begin engagements with the state government for successful commencement of operations.
The Chief of Air Staff said that “Let me also note that the establishment of this Base in Gombe is yet another clear testimony of the Federal Government’s commitment to overcoming the security challenges in the North East and indeed the entire country”.
The CAS added that “The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles that would be deployed here at the 203 Combat Reconnaissance Group, along with Force Protection component and other support elements, will undoubtedly bring new capabilities to the spectrum of operations of the service thereby further enhancing our ability to contain the threats to our communities and citizens”.
“The Commander, as well as the first set of personnel to man the Unit, are already posted to Gombe and, in the days and weeks ahead, they will work with the state government to ensure that the group is ready to commence active operations in the shortest possible time”, he disclosed.
While Performing the ceremony alongside the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya said that the speed at which the 203 Reconnaissance Group is being established in Gombe is a reflection of the quality of leadership of the Nigerian Air Force under the watchful eyes of Air Marshal Sadiq Baba Abubakar.
The governor said that “I notice with keen interest the effort put in place to actualise the establishment of the combat Reconnaissance group as fast as possible, the land was allocated in August 2020 and today we are all here to witness the groundbreaking ceremony”.
He, therefore, commended the steadfastness of the Chief of Air Staff towards the establishment of the Reconnaissance Group in Gombe calling on officers and men of the Nigerian Air Force to maintain team spirit as they battle insurgency and other forms of criminality.
The Governor also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the establishment of the 203 Combat Reconnaissance Group despite the economic meltdown prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that ” Let me seize this opportunity to commend and thank our dear President, who despite the economic challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to provide the required support in the fight against Boko Haram, banditry and other forms of criminality”.
Inuwa Yahaya added that “I equally commend members of the National Assembly for appropriating and approving the funds for the construction of this base”.
The governor also said that the geographical position of Gombe State in the North East places it at a strategic position for the citing of the Reconnaissance group of the Nigerian Airforce in the State.
He said that the operational base will further boost the management of security in Gombe, the North-East and the country as a whole, adding that without security nothing can fundamentally be achieved.
He expressed the determination of his administration to partner with the Nigerian Air Force towards the establishment of the 203 Combat Reconnaissance group in the State was demonstrated in the prompt allocation of 230 hectares of land for the project, reiterating that Gombe is ready to host officers and men of the force.
The governor further assured the Nigerian Air Force of his administration’s unflinching support as well as the cooperation and understanding of the people of the State towards the full operation and continuous stay of the group