The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says it will continue to encourage partnership with the private sector to provide facilities where aircraft can be maintained to enhance the fight against insurgency.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said this on Tuesday during a courtesy visit to Caverton Helicopters, Ikeja, where he inspected the organisation’s Maintenance and Full Flight Simulator facilities.
Mr. Abubakar expressed his excitement with the facility on ground saying: “It will provide an avenue whereby aircraft and helicopters can be serviced instead of flying them abroad for maintenance.
“What I have seen in the facility clearly shows that we can key into the organisation’s activities to get serviceable Agusta 109 and 139 as well as the Bell 412 helicopters.
“By the time we fine tune the terms of the partnership, it will clearly show why we believe that all hands must be on deck to effectively deal with insecurity.”
The airforce chief said it was imperative to find a way of bridging the gap that disconnects the military from the private sector in order to work toward achieving a common goal.
“Caverton has the facility that will be beneficial to us in the fight against insurgency. If I had not come I would not have known about this facility.”
The CAS said that the issue of insecurity in the country should not be left to the military alone adding that all hands must be on deck to protect the integrity of the nation.
“I want to emphasise that fighting to ensure that Nigeria is secured is not a military issue alone but also involves partnership with the private sector.
“In 2021, we will focus on many areas of partnership to find out where the opportunities lie so that we can get our planes flying effectively and efficiently,” the CAS said.
Mr. Abubakar said that six Super Tucano aircraft would be arriving Kano in July as part of the 12 fighter jets sold to Nigeria by the U.S. to aid combat actions and air assaults.
“We have appointed commandants that are supposed to receive the aircraft as well as upgraded our facilities so that those coming will be accommodated.
“We have about 54 personnel in the U.S. currently undergoing various training and they will be coming with the aircraft,” Mr. Abubakar said.
Also, Aderemi Makanjuola, the Chairman, Caverton Offshore Support Group, said that he was excited to be of use to the Nigeria Air Force and the Nigerian community as a whole.
“Everybody wants peace and if we are part of the process of providing peace, then we are part of everything.
“We are ready to work assiduously with the Chief of Air Staff to ensure that everything they want; that we can provide, will be delivered with utmost urgency and transparency.”
Also speaking, Rotimi Makanjuola, the Managing Director, Caverton Helicopters, said that the organisation had entered into partnership with the manufacturers of aircraft parts in the U.S and Canada.
He said that the partnership would ensure prompt delivery of spare parts for maintenance.