Dapchi girls: Air Force Chief relocates to Maiduguri

Ugo Okoro

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The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has temporarily relocated to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base in Maiduguri, Borno state, from where the air search operations for the missing Dapchi girls are being coordinated.

A statement from the Air Force said: “The National Security Adviser (NSA), Mohammed Monguno was at the NAF Base Maiduguri, where he spoke to and encouraged the NAF personnel involved in the day and night air search operations.

Furthermore, both the NSA and the CAS visited Damaturu, where they paid a courtesy call on His Excellency, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State, during which they held useful discussions regarding the missing girls.”

Later in the day, the NSA, accompanied by the CAS and other top military officers, travelled to Monguno to commission new projects at 171 NAF Detachment Monguno.

The newly commissioned projects include the Unit’s Headquarters Complex, a block of 4 Single Officers’ Quarters, a block of 10 flats for airmen/airwomen and 2 helipads, all of which have just been constructed.

According to the Commander of the Air Task Force, Air Vice Marshal Idi Lubo, air power projection has limitations, one of which is reach.

He noted that with the commissioning of the projects at 171 NAF Detachment Monguno, the NAF had just extended the reach of its helicopters.

Abubakar stated that the projects were undertaken in pursuit of the NAF’s commitment to ensuring security in the Northeast.

He added that the NAF would continue to deploy air assets in all parts of the country.

Locating Dapchi girls

On the missing , Air Marshal Abubakar declared that no efforts would be spared by the NAF in locating the girls, in conjunction with other security forces.

He disclosed that NAF pilots on different NAF platforms were operating day and night to locate the girls, adding that he had decided to temporarily relocate to Maiduguri, given the import of the unfortunate incident.

The NSA also described the establishment of NAF presence in Monguno as being long overdue, as it would add the much needed value to the efforts of the other security agencies in ensuring peace in the Northeast.

Also commissioned, by the NSA, were a newly constructed Fire Fighting and an Aircraft Arming Bay at NAF Base Maiduguri.

The Dapchi girls were declared missing on 19 February, after reported attacks by boko haram following which the NAF immediately commenced an air search for them.

The NAF has had to deploy additional air assets, including Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platforms, to the Northeast, on 25 February, in a renewed effort at locating the missing girls.