OrderPaperToday – Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao has told lawmakers how the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) inducted 16 newly acquired aircraft into its fleet and conducted about 3,700 missions to crush criminal elements in parts of the country.

He said the purchase of the additional aircraft made it easier for the force to crush insurgents in the ongoing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in the north-east and operations against bandits in the north-west in the course of the year.

These disclosures were made on Tuesday when he appeared before the House Committee on Air Force to defend the NAF’s 2022 budget.

Amao said the NAF has recorded significant successes in operations done so far due to cooperation from sister security agencies.

“From January 2021 till date the NAF aircraft have flown about 7,000 hours in over 4,600 sorties and about 3700 missions in the ongoing counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations in the north east and operations against the bandits in the northwest,” he said, adding:

“The NAF personnel have also enjoyed quality and local and foreign training. Between 2021 to date, a total of 2,155 personnel have undergone both foreign and local training. Currently 390 are undergoing training in different countries across the world, while 3,523 personnel are undergoing local training in various military institutions and other para-military institutions.

“In line with the leading key driver of my vision the NAF has deployed doctrinal documents in all areas of our competences. Again looking at the welfare of personnel which is another key driver of my vision, in this regard this administration has embarked on various projects that have so far, had significant impact on personnel across NAF units from January till date.

“One of the responsibilities of the NAF is providing aid to civil authorities in support of the government, the NAF airlifted materials and staff of government agencies such as the National Centre for Disease Control during the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. The NAF also is periodically involved in the airlift of officials of the National Emergency Management Agency.

“It is pertinent to state that NAF has been actively involved in the airlift of INEC staff and also contributed over 400 troops to provide security before, during and after the recently concluded Anambra elections.

“In winning the hearts and minds of the citizens, especially our host communities, the NAF has been conducting humanitarian and welfare programmes across the nation. It is important to state that these achievements would not be possible without the assistance of the NASS through funds appropriated to the NAF as well as the support of the FG. We pledge to continue to do more.”

However, shortly after the CAS’s remarks, the Chairman of the House Committee on Air Force, Shehu Koko (APC, Kebbi), did not let journalists witness the actual budget defence, as according to him, “matters of security are sensitive.”

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