The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has disclosed that the establishment of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Ground Training Command (GTC) in Enugu State was primarily to enhance the security of lives and properties of Nigerians in the Southeast of the country.
He made this known yesterday, 2 May 2018, during the Ground Breaking and Foundation Laying Ceremony of the Headquarters Complex of GTC at Gabon Village in Enugu State. Shortly before the Ground Breaking Ceremony, the CAS paid a courtesy call on the Executive Governor of Enugu State, His Excellency Rt Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, at Government House, Enugu.
He thanked the Governor for the State’s contributions to efforts at ensuring that the new Command takes off in earnest. He added that it was an indication of Governor Ugwuanyi’s interest in the security of his people and indeed all Nigerians. Furthermore, the CAS reiterated the commitment of the NAF to the security of all Nigerians, particularly those in the Southeast, and hence, the siting of the new NAF Command in Enugu, in addition to its 211 Regiment Group in Owerri.
He also explained that the GTC is very strategic in the scheme of things as NAF operations are no longer limited to the air, with the advent of its Special Forces, which operate on the ground to combat Nigeria’s contemporary security challenges.
In addition, Air Marshal Abubakar stated that the NAF was set to deploy its Special Forces to the recently established Quick Response Wing in Nguroje, Taraba State, as part of efforts at improving nationwide security.
Air Marshal Abubakar then revealed the NAF’s plans to build a reference hospital in Enugu for the benefit of personnel, their dependants and members of the civil populace. In his response, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi lauded the NAF leadership for its pragmatic efforts at ensuring that the whole of the country is safe for all Nigerians.
He noted that Enugu State had enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the NAF, particularly in the area of security. The Governor then expressed his delight over the decision of the NAF to locate the GTC in Enugu, noting that it would further cement the existing cordial relationship between the NAF and Enugu State.
During the Ground Breaking Ceremony, the CAS announced plans to bring additional combat helicopters to the NAF unit in the State towards boosting air operations and Internal Security in the Southeast. He added that plans were on-going to establish a Quick Response Wing in one of the local government areas in the State to bring security closer to the people.
The CAS further announced plans to upgrade facilities at the Air Force Comprehensive School Enugu to make it one of the best in the country. Air Marshal Abubakar had earlier urged everyone at the occasion to observe a minute’s silence in honour of late Air Commodore EO Akinbayo, the former Commander of 553 Base Services Group Enugu, who died on the eve of the date originally scheduled for the Ground Breaking Ceremony. In his remarks at the ceremony, Governor Ugwuanyi lauded the NAF leadership for the NAF’s significant contributions towards making Enugu State one of the most peaceful states in the country.
The Governor therefore assured the NAF of the continuous support of the Government and the people of Enugu in ensuring that the NAF continues to operate smoothly in the State. The Governor also commended the Federal Government of Nigeria for its continuous efforts at ensuring that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are well equipped to combat the nation’s security challenges.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) GTC, Air Vice Marshal Samson Akpasa, had expressed delight that the Ground Breaking and Foundation Laying Ceremony of the Headquarters of the Command was holding. He seized the opportunity to enumerate some of the achievements of the new Command within the relatively short time it was established.
The AOC said the building of a befitting office accommodation for the Command would no doubt further enhance its efficiency and better position it for optimum service delivery. The GTC was unbundled from the erstwhile Training Command on 4 July 2017 to play the specialized role of training ground elements in response to contemporary security challenges while the Air Training Command concentrates on the training of aircrew.