The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) in July 2015, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, arrived in Maiduguri on Friday, to celebrate the Eid-el-Fitr with frontline troops of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) serving in Maiduguri.
The Director Public Relations and Information, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya said the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar was accompanied by senior officers from NAF Headquarters, Abuja.
The visit also provided an avenue for the NAF to commission a newly built multipurpose hall at NAF’s 105 Composite Group, Maiduguri.
Adesanya said the hall, which was named after a one time Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command, late Air Vice Marshal Emmanuel Edem, was commissioned by Senator Duro Faseyi, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Air Force.
Also present at the occasion was the wife of the late senior NAF officer that was honoured, Mrs Bernardette Edem.
While commissioning the AVM EE Edem Hall, Senator Faseyi observed that the construction of the hall for use by the frontline troops was another significant achievement by NAF.
He therefore praised the CAS and the rest of the NAF leadership for their unflinching commitment, which had resulted in the repositioning of the NAF for better service delivery.
“The Senate Committee on Air Force was a witness to the commissioning of several projects across all NAF units, geared towards enhancing NAF’s operational effectiveness and raising the morale of personnel,” Senator Faseyi stated.
On the naming of the newly built hall after late AVM Edem, Senator Faseyi was of the view that it was an indication that the NAF, and the country at large, would forever be grateful to those who had served the nation well, even in death.
He then charged personnel of 105 Composite Group to properly maintain and make good use of the new facilities.
He also saluted the personnel for their bravery, which according to him, was responsible for the relative peace being enjoyed in Maiduguri and the overall corporate existence of Nigeria.
He then stated that the nation truly appreciates their daily sacrifices and therefore urged them to remain committed in the interest of the nation.
In his remarks, the CAS said “he had come to celebrate Sallah with them as a form of showing appreciation for their efforts towards ensuring that Nigerians are secured and are able to pursue their legitimate aspirations without any hindrance”.
He therefore thanked guests, particularly Senator Faseyi and Mrs Edem, who came to join in celebrating with the frontline troops, who constantly put their lives on the line to ensure the security of our communities.
He recollected his promise in the preceding year that the troops would no longer have to eat under the hot sun while collectively celebrating festive seasons.
Air Marshal Abubakar therefore expressed his delight that the promise had been fulfilled with the commissioning of the hall, which had created a more conducive environment for the troops to celebrate.
The CAS informed the troops that the NAF had made a lot of gains in the efforts to re-professionalise the NAF.
He said that the NAF had been expanded for enhanced operational effectiveness, administrative efficiency and better service delivery.
In particular, he mentioned that several Special Forces personnel had been trained and already deployed to newly established NAF units all over the country.
The NAF has largely addressed the welfare needs of personnel, especially through the provision of residential accommodation, distribution of uniforms, among others.
He said the Federal Government had also been supportive in the efforts to enhance the capability of the NAF through the acquisition of new aircraft and reactivation of grounded ones.
He therefore expressed the gratitude of the NAF to President Muhammadu Buhari, members of the National Assembly and other government agencies for facilitating the re-professionalisation of the NAF.
Air Marshal Abubakar also said that earlier in the day, President Buhari had specifically directed that he should convey his appreciation to the troops, for their daily sacrifices while reminding them that we had no other country but Nigeria and we should therefore work harder to ensure its unity and safeguard its territorial integrity.
Unique values exhibited
On late AVM Edem, the CAS revealed that the late senior officer was a highly committed and detribalized individual, who was only interested in the values that personnel could add to the Service and not their tribes or religious inclination.
He then recounted some deeds by the late Senior Officer, who he reported to be a man who exhibited much integrity.
According to Air Marshal Abubakar, those were some of the reasons the late senior officer was being honoured by naming the new hall after him.
He then encouraged all NAF personnel to emulate those e by late AVM Edem.
The Commander Air Task Force, AVM Idi Lubo, in his brief welcome address, extolled the virtues of the late AVM Edem, who he said he had a pleasant encounter with, while still a young officer.
He added that he was not surprised that the edifice was being named after late AVM Edem, judging by what he personally knew of the late senior officer.
While Senator Faseyi and Mrs Edem had since departed from Maiduguri, the CAS and members of his entourage were still with the troops as at the time of filing this report.