The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has successfully completed the in-house life extension programme on one of its C-130H aircraft, NAF 913 thereby improving the airlift capability of the Service. According to the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the NAF would continue to intensify efforts at reactivating unserviceable aircraft in its inventory to enhance its operational effectiveness. He stated this while assessing the progress of work on the in-country Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) of another NAF’s C-130 aircraft at 631 Aircraft Maintenance Depot (ACMD) during his operational visit to Lagos from 23 to 24 July 2018. The CAS, who was accompanied on the operational visit by senior officers from NAF Headquarters, also inspected and commissioned some projects at the Sam Ethnan Air Force Base (SEAFB) Ikeja and the Armed Forces Resettlement Centre (AFRC) Oshodi. At 631 ACMD, the CAS was briefed by the Commander, Air Commodore Moses Onilede, that the Depot had also successfully overhauled two C-130H aircraft engines while the in-country PDM of the second C-130H, NAF 917, had reached an advanced stage.
Responding, the CAS noted that the reactivation of NAF 913 was another major feat recorded by the current NAF leadership to further improve NAF’s capability to provide logistics support across multiple theatres of operations. He therefore commended the Commander and personnel of the Unit while equally thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for providing the enabling environment for the NAF to raise the serviceability status of NAF operable aircraft from about 31 per cent in 2015 to an average of 80 per cent as at date. While in Lagos, Air Marshal Abubakar visited AFRC Oshodi, where he was conducted on a tour of projects executed by the outgoing Commandant, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Ajibola Jekennu. One of the significant achievements was the redesign and reconstruction of 2 blocks of trainees’ hostels from the erstwhile dormitory style accommodation to appropriately furnished 2-occupant self-contained accommodation.
Air Marshal Abubakar expressed his delight at the people-centred leadership style of AVM Jekennu and commended him particularly for the steps taken to enhance the welfare of the trainees, most of whom had served the nation for 35 years. In his remarks, AVM Jekennu, said that the massive infrastructural development witnessed in the NAF and the mandate given to him by the CAS to bring positive change to AFRC, inspired his performance at AFRC. The CAS, who is a member of the AFRC Governing Board, later commissioned the newly renovated and expanded AFRC Officers’ Mess. The CAS also commissioned 2 newly completed and furnished officers’ residential accommodation at SEAFB, one of which is a block of 6 x 3 bedroom flats, which was named after late Air Commodore Emmanuel Akinbayo who died on 4 February 2018 while serving as Commander 553 Base Services Group (BSG) Enugu.
The wife of the late senior officer, Mrs Oluranti Akinbayo joined the CAS in unveiling the plaque of the building. The second building is a block of 10 by one bedroom flats for single officers. The CAS, while speaking during the event, reiterated the commitment of the current Federal Government Administration towards meeting the welfare needs of personnel. He emphasized that no modern war could be effectively prosecuted without credible air power capability and this could not be achieved without effective logistics support. He therefore urged personnel of Logistics Command to rededicate themselves to their constitutional roles and charged them to remain apolitical while exercising their legitimate rights to vote for the candidates of their choice. While in Lagos, Air Marshal Abubakar inspected some old blocks of airmen’s residential accommodation that required various levels of repair works. He immediately tasked the Air Officer Commanding Logistics Command (AOC LC), AVM Remigius Ekeh, to assess and submit the requirements for renovating the buildings.
The CAS also seized the opportunity to visit a fish farm being run by barracks youths under his initiative known as ‘Barracks Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture’. Before departing from Lagos, Air Marshal Abubakar held stimulating interactive sessions with officers as well as airmen and airwomen of NAF units in Lagos area.
Director of Public Relations and Information Nigerian Air Force