The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is set to build an apron, hangar and aircraft shelters at the Umaru Musa Yar’adua International Airport in Katsina.
The Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said “the aircraft shelters would ensure that aircraft deployed for operations in the North West are not unduly exposed to the harsh effects of weather.”
The hangar would also serve as a maintenance hub for all aircrafts used in the North West operation.
Speaking shortly after inspecting the project site, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who was in Katsina to oversee the progress of the new subsidiary air interdiction Operation, codenamed WUTAN DAJI, said the facility would enhance NAF’s operations in dealing with armed bandits and other criminal elements in Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and surrounding States.
He stated that the construction work would be executed through ‘direct labour’ by NAF Engineers from the Directorate of Services, noting that some of the materials, including the frames for the aircraft shelters, had been relocated using NAF C-130H aircraft from another NAF unit, where they were not being used.
Air Marshal Abubakar added that the new facilities would also form part of the infrastructure for the NAF Central Flying School, once fully activated.
While expressing his gratitude to the Executive Governor of Katsina State, Honourable Aminu Bello Masari, for allocating the land for use by the NAF, the Air Force Chief appreciated the Emirs of Katsina and Daura as well as the good people of Katsina State for their support to the Service, especially in the provision of useful information.
He emphasized that the fight against banditry was a collective responsibility that required the cooperation of all well-meaning Nigerians.
Speaking on his assessment of Operation WUTAN DAJI, Air Marshal Abubakar stated that he was satisfied with progress so far made.
“With 10 surveillance and attack aircraft deployed, we have flown over 100 hours in about 60 sorties since the Operation began 3 days ago. In all, we have conducted 13 air interdiction missions that have taken out 10 armed bandits locations with scores of the bandits killed and some of their leaders neutralized. We are already getting positive feedback on the tremendous results of the air strikes. You will get more details soon”, he said.
The Chief of Air Staff added that the Operation HADARIN DAJI Air Component continues to provide close air support for the Land Component’s clearance operations within the Theatre; emphasizing that the overall objective was to employ all means available to deal decisively with the armed bandits so that they have no breathing space and can no longer terrorize innocent citizens.
The inspection was led by Air Officer Commanding Special Operations Command, Air Vice Marshal Charles Ohwo, and the NAF Director of Services, Group Captain Abdullahi Abubakar. In the CAS entourage were Branch Chiefs, Directors as well as other Senior officers from NAF Headquarters.