The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao has charged troops of Operation Gama Aiki (OPGA) and personnel of 013 Quick Response Force (013 QRF), Minna, Niger State to sustain the tempo of operations and continue to fight gallantly until insurgents, armed bandits and all other criminal elements are completely eliminated and peace restored to the State and all other troubled parts of the country.
Air Marshal Amao gave the charge while celebrating Christmas with the troops of the Air Component of OPGA in Minna.
Represented by the Deputy Director of Operations, Headquarters NAF, Air Commodore Sunday Aneke, the CAS noted that the lunch also provided an opportunity for the NAF to remember the sacrifices of fallen heroes who have paid the supreme price in the service to the country.
The CAS said the security threats facing the country and the challenges they present to the attainment of national development goals require the emplacement of robust security architecture capable of rapid employment of airpower in the full spectrum of warfare.
The NAF he stated, operating in concert with sister Services and other security agencies, has continued to courageously confront various security threats, while recording tangible results in the various theatres of operations.
“I must therefore state that I am proud of the efforts of all our officers, airmen, and airwomen participating in Internal Security operations in different parts of the country”, he said.
While President Muhammadu Buhari for his continued support to the Armed Forces of Nigeria especially the NAF, the CAS stated that the Air Component OPGA has continued to perform very critical roles in providing the much-needed air support for the effective conduct of ground operations by the Land Component.
The air operations he disclosed, have been immensely instrumental in curtailing the activities of the terrorists and denying them freedom of action.
“It is gratifying to note that operational manpower development in the NAF recently received a boost with the winging of 26 new pilots and 31 operators since my assumption of office.
“In the same vein, I am happy to note that we currently have a total of 195 officers, airmen, and airwomen undergoing various training courses abroad cutting across several specialties and trades.
“In addition, 12 student pilots are undergoing Basic Fighter Training at 403 Flying Training School, Kano, while 12 others are undergoing Basic Transport Training at 401 Flying Training School, Kaduna.
“These courses are aimed at maintaining combat readiness by increasing the number of pilots to man our ever-increasing inventory of aircraft”, he said.
In his remarks, Commander 103 QRF, Group Captain Elisha Bindul stated that the presence of CAS during festive periods remained a huge source of motivation and indicative of his commitment to the welfare and morale of troops of OPGA.
Such visits, according to Group Captain Bindul, demonstrated the innate desire of the CAS to give the troops a sense of belonging, realizing that they are spending the festive season in the frontlines and away from their families.
While thanking the CAS for meeting all their welfare demands, the Commander reassured him of their firm dedication to sustain the fight against all forms of criminality in Niger State and North West in general.
Visits and interactions of this nature provide an opportunity to not only bond with frontline troops but also to promote esprit de corps, comradeship, and regimentation.