– The Sun News

Air Force to establish forward operating bases in Cross River, Akwa Ibom

Molly Kilete, Abuja

The Nigerian Air Force said it has concluded arrangement to establish Forward Operating Bases (FOB) at Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers states to curb militancy and other criminal groups terrorizing the south-south geopolitical zones of the country.

The establishment of the FOB, according to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, is aimed at  coordinating NAF, security operations in the south eastern Part of the country.
Abubakar, who made this known at the 2018, first quarter route march exercise, also announced the setting up of an annex of the Mobility Command in Akwa Ibom state to effectively coordinate air operations to deal with the emerging security challenges in these areas.
He said the establishment of an annex of the mobility command has become necessary since the NAF mobility command at Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, does not have an airport nor a runway.
He was, however, quick to note that the NAF, was not planning to relocate the mobility command in Yenagoa, to Akwa Ibom state.
The NAF chief, while expressing worries over the emerging security threat to the Niger Delta and south east part of the country, assured of the ability of the service to curb the menace before it gets out of hand.
According to him:
“We are beginning to see some challenges in Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, and we are going to send a team to those two states.
“I was there about two weeks ago and I know some of the challenges, especially in Cross Rivers state, and we are going to talk with the state government and see how they can support us in the process of establishing these two FOBs.
“And also, having an annex of the Mobility Command which is located in Bayelsa state and in Akwa Ibom state to help coordinate air operations so that we have a more effective way of dealing with some of the challenges that we are beginning to see.
“In Yenagoa, we don’t have an airport, we don’t have a runway. But in Akwa Ibom, we have these facilities. We are not relocating, get me right, we are not relocating the mobility command in Yenagoa. We are only establishing an annex that will coordinate activities of our units that are around the south eastern flank of the country.”
On the incessant attacks by Boko Haram, especially in Adamawa and Borno states, the  NAF chief – who attributed the attacks to the porous borders – said that the NAF would reactivate it’s FOB at Mubi in Adamawa state to stop further attacks.
He said that, with the reactivation of the FOB, terrorists would no longer have the freedom to carry out attacks at will.
“We already have a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Mubi, Adamawa State. What we are simply doing is to reactive it because of some of the challenges we are beginning to see emerging in the border areas of Borno and Adamawa states.
“So the FOB will come back and align properly, and we believe that it will add value to what we are doing.”
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Tokunbo David
Tokunbo David

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