In continuation of the drive to provide its personnel with the most conducive working and living conditions for optimal efficiency, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has commissioned new accommodation and electrification projects at the NAF 211 Quick Response Group (211 QRG), Owerri.
The Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola noted that the transit quarters for Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and electrification project were part of the first phase of developments to be executed on land donated to the NAF by the Imo State Government for the establishment of a Base in Owerri.
Commissioning the projects, the Executive Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha, who was represented by the Secretary to the Imo State Government, Sir George Eche, expressed the gratitude of the Imo State Government to President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the establishment of the 211 QRG in the State.
He said that, as part of its commitment to ensure the Unit’s smooth take-off, the Imo State Government had donated land and an office complex to the NAF in December 2016, and also subsequently donated the Owerri North Specialist Hospital.
He expressed delight that the NAF had reciprocated the State Government’s kind gestures by contributing significantly to the enhancement of security in the state.
The Governor also commended the NAF for commencing the development of the land to provide accommodation for its personnel. “I believe this is the first step towards full development of the place into a standard NAF Base”, he said.
Speaking earlier, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar, stated that his desire to reposition the NAF into a highly professional and disciplined fighting force for effective, efficient and timely employment of air power had necessitated a tweaking of the NAF’s erstwhile organizational structure.
This reorganisation, he noted, had led to the establishment of the Special Operations Command (SOC) and its component units, which include 211 QRG Owerri as well as QRGs in Ipetu-Ijesha in Osun State, Gusau in Zamfara State and a Combat Search and Rescue Group at Kerang in Plateau State, along with Quick Response Wings (QRWs) at Doma in Nassrawa State, Nguroje in Taraba State and Agatu in Benue State.
The CAS noted further that the establishment of these units had enhanced NAF’s response capability in dealing with national security threats, in conjunction with sister Services and other security agencies.
He went on to state that, in order to ensure effectiveness within the new structure, the Service had continued to build human capacity in all areas to enhance the NAF’s operational capability.
Accordingly, the NAF had trained a total of 82 pilots and was also boosting its Special Operations and Force Protection capabilities with the training of another batch of 500 personnel at the Regiment Training Centre in Kaduna, most of who would be deployed to the various QRGs, including Owerri, upon completion of their training.
The CAS therefore thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the immense support that had empowered the NAF to function effectively and facilitated the acquisition of 18 brand new aircraft as well as the reactivation of 13 others in the Service within the last 3 years.
The CAS also thanked the Government and good people of Imo State for their unwavering support to the NAF, while specially commending Governor Okorocha for his personal commitment to ensuring that the NAF was well established in Imo State by approving the donation of land, an office complex and a hospital.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) SOC, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Samson Akpasa, who was represented by the Chief of Staff SOC, AVM Mohammed Tanko, stated that the construction of the block of transit accommodation would motivate personnel to continue to put in their best to enhance the collective operational capacity for the attainment of NAF objectives.
The CAS, along with other senior officers, had earlier paid a courtesy visit to the Imo State Governor at the Government House in Owerri.
During the visit, Governor Okorocha stated that he had always been a believer in the primacy of air power and the decisive advantages it confers in warfare. He commended the CAS for the NAF’s immense contributions to the success in the fight against insurgency in the North East as well as ongoing efforts to deal with armed banditry in Zamfara and other states in the North West.
The Governor stated that he was equally satisfied with the contributions of 211 QRG towards enhancing security in Imo State.
He said he would therefore continue to provide all necessary support to the NAF to enable it more effectively carry out its roles in the State.
The CAS thanked the Governor for the continued support the NAF had enjoyed from the Government and good people of the state and pledged the commitment of the Service towards ensuring peace and stability in the country.