…Immortalizes Late Squadron Leader Baba-Ari
As part of efforts at bolstering the ongoing counterinsurgency operation in the North East, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) today 18 December 2018 winged and inducted additional 5 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) pilots at the Headquarters Air Task Force (HQ ATF), Operation Lafia Dole in Maiduguri.
The new pilots who were decorated with their flying wings by the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshal Al-Amin Daggash was part of capacity building initiatives of the current Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar aimed at strengthen operational capability.
Air Force, has since deployed its CH3-UAV and other operational UAVs as part of air assets employed in the ongoing counterinsurgency operation in the North East. These additional pilots will no doubt enhance the NAF’s efforts at conducting both day and night missions in support of the ground forces as well as in singular operations against the insurgents.
Speaking during the winging ceremony, Air Marshal Daggash noted that the winging of the new UAV pilots was yet another testimony of the CAS’ adept dexterity in focusing attention on all aspects of Service growth. He congratulated the officers for attaining a new status while urging them to employ their acquired knowledge and skill to add value to efforts at securing the nation.
Air Marshal Daggash, commended the CAS for the monumental achievements in the NAF since assumption of office in 2015. The former CDS acknowledged the many milestones attained in such a short time, as evidenced by the many completed projects in NAF Bases across the Country.
This, he described as a clear testimony of the zeal and commitment of the CAS to the welfare of NAF personnel. Daggash equally expressed admiration for the remarkable operational achievements the NAF had recorded in the past 3 years.
According to him, the achievements were clearly manifested in the NAF’s effective projection of air power in pursuit of national security objectives across the country, particularly in Operation LAFIYA DOLE. He attributed the commendable operational successes to the dynamic leadership of the CAS as well as the acquisition and induction of various platforms into the inventory of the NAF by the Federal Government.
He therefore expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for providing necessary support to enhance the operational readiness and welfare of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, in spite of the current economic realities.
Meanwhile, in a move to immortalised Late Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr) Muhammed Bello Baba-Ari, the fighter pilot who died on 28 September 2018 while participating in the aerial display rehearsals for the 58th Nigerian Independence Day Celebration in Abuja, the NAF has named a newly built Pilots’ Crew Room at the HQ ATF in Maiduguri after the late senior officer.
The ultra-modern Pilots Crew Room Building, which houses a briefing room, computer room/library, pilots’ life-support room, lounge, recreation room, kitchen, 3 bedrooms for pilots on standby as well as several restrooms, would go a long way in adding value to the fight against insurgency and bolstering the morale of officers and men in the frontlines. Also inaugurated was the newly constructed HQ ATF Extension Building strengthen the operational and administrative works of the ATF.
The former CDS also commended the CAS for immortalizing late Sqn Ldr Baba-Ari, a committed, dedicated and experienced fighter pilot who participated actively in the operations in the North-East, by naming the magnificent Pilots’ Crew Room Building after him. He described the gesture as befitting and appropriate. He enjoined officers and men to imbibe such sterling qualities while redoubling their efforts to uplift the NAF and the Nation to more enviable heights.
The CAS, in his opening remarks, expressed delight to be in Maiduguri to assess the conduct of operations while also seizing the opportunity to witness the commissioning of the projects and winging of the UAV pilots.
He noted that the event was another opportunity to re-focus attention on the clarion call of the nation for increased commitment to duty and service. The CAS noted that the NAF has been performing a crucial roles towards providing the much needed air support to enable ground operations proceed unhindered.
According to him, “in pursuit of the NAF’s constitutional roles, and also in line with my vision for the NAF, I have constantly sought, not only to evolve strategies that would enable the Service adequately project air power to effectively and efficiently deal with prevalent security threats, but to also see to it that personnel welfare is given utmost priority”, he said.
He expressed satisfaction with the progressive performances of the ATF against the insurgents, especially during the last Operation GREEN SWEEP, further charged the Task Force to reciprocate the various welfare enhancements by dealing harder and more effective blows against the remaining elements of the Boko Haram insurgents with a view to completely eliminating them.
The Air Chief reassured the troops of NAF support, particularly in providing the requirements to prosecute the war, as far as the prevailing national economic realities permit.