NAF set to inaugurate permanent base in Abia

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The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, has announced the plan by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to establish a permanent presence in Abia.

The Director, Public Relations and Information, NAF, AVM Edward Gabkwet, made this known in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

Gabkwet said that the CAS gave the hint when he visited Gov. Alex Otti, on Friday in his country home at Mvosi, in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of the state.

Abubakar said the presence of NAF in Abia would not only bolster security of the airspace but also provided invaluable support to emergency response, disaster management and community development initiatives.

He expressed NAF’s willingness to take advantage of the opportunity, to further extend its reach in the employment of air power in response to national security imperatives, especially in Abia and the South East region.

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The CAS expressed sadness over the unfortunate incident that led to the loss of lives of soldiers and disruption of livelihood at Obikabia Junction of Obingwa Local Government Area on May 30.

He, however, gave assurance that those behind the dastardly act would soon be brought to justice.

The air chief commended the governor’s dedication to public service and commitment to the betterment of the state.

“We admire your governance style which is people-oriented and centred on the judicious management of public resources in order to improve the living standard of Abia people.

“The pathway you have chosen for your people is that of sustainable growth, development and prosperity,” he said.

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In his response, Gov. Otti noted that the establishment of a NAF Base in Abia, could not have been more timely following the recent approval by the Federal Government, for the construction of an air strip in the state.

He said the large expanse of land earmarked for the air strip was enough to accommodate a NAF Base, assuring that his government would be glad to allocate to the NAF.

The governor promised to provide a temporary site at Umuahia as well as residential accommodation, mobility and other requirements to ensure immediate operationalisation of the new Base within the next two months.

According to him, the presence of the NAF in Abia will bolster the efforts of other security agencies.

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On the killing of some soldiers in the state, Otti said the earlier bounty of N25 million placed on those responsible for the act had been increased to N30 million.

He said the increment came up after an illustrious son of the state, resident in the United States willingly donated additional N5 million to the bounty.

He emphasised the need for all citizens to join hands with security agencies to rid the state of criminal elements that have disrupted the peace enjoyed since his assumption of office.

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