By Emmanuel Daudu, Abuja
Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde has expressed appreciation and gratitude to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and indeed the entire Armed Forces of Nigeria for their sacrifices and efforts at checkmating all forms of criminality in the Country.
According to Edward Gabkwet, Air Commodore
Director of Public Relations and Information Nigerian Air Force, in a press release sent to Africa Security Investigation news, said, the Governor spoke at the Agodi Government House Ibadan when the Chief of the Air Staff(CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao paid him a courtesy call and at the 58-hectares cleared site for the ground-breaking ceremony for the permanent site of the new Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base, Ibadan. While receiving the CAS at the Government House Agodi, the Governor stated that, “I will always say that our security agencies often perform a thankless job. No one remembers them when there is peace, but people begin to ask what they were doing once there is a breach. So let me say thank you”. At the groundbreaking ceremony of the new 58-hectares NAF Base, situated at Ajia Community, Ibadan presided by Governor Makinde and Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, the Governor went on to state that the new NAF Base was part of his overall vision to engineer a modern Oyo State, just as he appealed to the good people of Ajia community to be accommodating hosts and support the State’s plans to bring rapid development to the area.
An elated Governor Makinde also told the mammoth crowed that the new NAF Base was not just an infrastructural project, but part of a plan for a robust security architecture for Oyo State and as more businesses move to the State, the need to properly secure the State becomes imperative. “When completed, this new Base will improve the operational reach of the NAF in Oyo State and enhance crisis response time. Oyo State will also have the bragging rights of hosting the permanent site of one of Nigeria’s Air Force Bases”, he said. To demonstrate his commitment to the actualization of the project, Governor Makinde donated the sum of N500 million to kick-start the construction of the Base just as he commended Air Marshal Oladayo Amao for his laudable achievements since assuming office, while assuring him of his administration’s commitment to partnering with the NAF for a better civil-military relationship and improved security in Oyo State.
In his remarks, Air Marshal Amao traced the history of NAF’s presence in Oyo State with the establishment of the 671 NAF Detachment Ibadan in March 1992 to provide operational support services to NAF aircraft operating in the South-West Region as well as contribute to the Internal Security architecture of Oyo State, amongst other functions. He went on to note that the Detachment had been without a permanent site and personnel of the unit have had to grapple with the challenge of residing in dispersed locations within Ibadan, which posed some operational and administrative constraints and the readiness and responsiveness of the unit to security challenges in the State. According to the CAS, it was thus heart-warming that the Oyo State Government found it expedient to provide the NAF with the 58-hectares expanse of land to serve as permanent site for the construction of structures for the NAF Base, Ibadan.
He also stated that the landmark initiative will provide a befitting environment for the Unit to better perform its security mandate within the State bearing in mind that security is a veritable catalyst for development and there can be no development without security. “With the establishment of this new Base in Ibadan, the NAF would be able to extend her operational reach to enhance Internal Security operations in the South-West Region. Currently, the high density of air traffic operating on daily basis from Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja inhibits military conduct of air operations in the Region. This new Base will therefore serve as a suitable alternate to Lagos airfield for the Nigerian Air Force to launch air operations in the Region seamlessly and more efficiently”, he said.
Air Marshal Amao also thanked Governor Makinde for generously donating to the development of the new Base and assured him of NAF’s readiness to partner with him and other states towards securing their citizenry. The event witnessed a large turnout that included members of the National Assembly, members of the Oyo State Executive Council, serving and retired senior military officers as well as traditional rulers.