The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, Saturday commissioned a newly established 271 Nigerian Airforce Detachment, Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State to check the increasing activities of bandits and kidnappers terrorising the area.
Speaking at the occasion, el-Rufai appealed to the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for the deployment of Special NAF Forces along the dreaded Kaduna-Abuja road and Kajuru Local Government Areas of the state which are notorious for insecurity.
He further called on the authorities of the NAF for security clearance for use of the drones, which the state government acquired through the assistance of NAF and were commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari on February 27th 2019, but are not fully operational due to the necessary clearance that is required by the security agencies of which the Air Force is central.
“We are hereby requesting the Chief of the Air Staff to kindly look into this matter so that the drones which will be used by his officers and men will start flying and provide other intelligence and support to security agencies,” he said.
He commended the leadership of the Nigerian Air Force for instituting the necessary infrastructure to ensure that the current security challenges facing the country are tackled.
“I have no doubt that your efforts will continue to keep our country safe and our economy growing,” the governor said.
El-Rufai lamented that “the prevalence of terrorism, banditry and kidnapping, has increased in recent times”, noting however that the Armed Forces of Nigeria, particularly the NAF, is boosting security operations and developing even more effective strategies to end the menace.
“While we recognise the efforts of the Nigerian Air Force, we also want to appeal to the Chief of Air Staff to approve the deployment of NAF Special Forces for the Abuja-Kaduna road to participate in the new joint security operations aimed at confronting the prevalence of banditry and kidnapping that has bedevilled the road for the last two years,” he said.
He said NAF has been playing key roles in tackling the security challenges in Kaduna State.
According to him, “Some of the most notorious criminals that had eluded security agencies in the state were arrested with the support of the military intelligence wing of NAF.
“This kind of exceptional conduct is what we have seen the AOCs and Base Commanders that have been deployed in Kaduna to support our security operations.
“I will like to inform the Chief of the Air Staff that NAF is the only security service that always declined to collect securitry funds for some security operations from the Kaduna State government because they tell us that the Chief of the Air Staff has warned them not to take any money that the Airforce Headquarters has already budgeted money for.
“This kind of exceptional conduct is what we have seen the AOCs and Base Commanders that have been deployed in Kaduna to support our security operations.”
He applauded the Emir of Birnin Gwari, Alhaji Zubairu Maigwari, for offering a piece of land for the establishment of the detachment, saying however that unlike before when government took land from traditional rulers for free, the state government will offer a financial compensation to the emir for his good gesture.
Speaking earlier, the CAS, Air Marshal Abubakar, said NAF is committed to seeing that the territorial integrity of the country is preserved.
He said NAF is currently involved in several internal security operations one of which is “Operation DIRAN MIKIYA,” which according to him, is intended to neutralise and flush out bandits and kidnappers as well as cattle rustlers operating in the North-west region.
He said the 271 NAF Detachment was established as a blocking force for troops involved in Operation DIRAN MIKIYA and SHARAN DAJI.
“The NAF is committed to seeing that the territorial integrity of our dear country is preserved as this is the only country we can call our own.
“It is our desire, therefore, to ensure that the menace of terrorism, kidnapping, cattle rustling and banditry are curtailed, if not completely eradicated,” he said.
According to him, the commissioning of 271 NAF Detachment Birnin Gwari is a testimony of the NAF commitment to the fight against insurgency and banditry in Nigeria.
“Let me once again, reassure Nigerians of the firm dedication of the NAF to the fight against terrorism and all forms of criminality in Nigeria,” he said.