From Okey Sampson, Umuahia

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) said it has concluded plans to establish an Air Force Base in Abia State soon.

This was disclosed by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar when he paid an official visit to Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti in Umuahia.

Air Marshal Abubarkar said the essence of his visit was to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Governor and explore opportunities for collaboration between Nigerian Air force and Abia State.

Abubakar requested the state government to provide the Force a parcel of land for the establishment of the Air Force Base in Abia State to enhance security not only in Abia but the entire South East Zone.

Abubakar, applauded Governor Otti for his dedication to public service and commitment to the development of the State as well as his governance style, “which is people oriented and centered to judicious management of public resources in order to improve the living standards of Abians”.

He used the opportunity to commiserate with the state government on the unfortunate incident which led to the loss of five soldiers at Obikabia junction, assuring that the Nigerian Air force would partner other security agencies in the state to bolster security.

Dr Otti responding, appreciated Air Vice Marshal Hasan Abubakar for granting approval for the establishment of an Air Force Base in Abia.

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He said that in the interim, a temporary site in Umuahia would be provided while operational vehicles, official residence and other logistics required for the take off would equally be provided by the state government.

Governor Otti expressed optimism that establishment of an Air force base would be realized in the state to further enhance security of lives and property of citizens.

“I will instruct the commissioner for Lands and Housing to engage with anyone that you will nominate to work with us so that we can realise this in the shortest time possible.

“While we do that, we are also in a position to give you a temporary site so you do not wait for the construction of the permanent site before we realise this good gesture that you have made here.

“We will give you a temporary site in Umuahia and we will also provide residences for your men and also provide vehicles for them to move around and any other thing that they require and so I believe that we can achieve this in the next one to two months”, Otti assured.

Governor Otti who attributed the relative peace in the state to efforts of security agencies, emphasized that security is among the top priority of his administration adding that government would support them to perform optimally.

While noting that the visit came at the right time especially with the Federal governments approval for the setting up of an Airstrip in the state, the Governor said the administration is committed to partnering the FG to expand the airstrip to an airport.

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