President Bola Tinubu has reaffirmed his administration's commitment to tackling insecurity in the country.
The President, represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, gave the reaffirmation while inducting two T129 Attack Combat Helicopters and one King Air Beechcraft 360ER mobility aircraft into service by the Nigerian Air Force. He stated that the helicopter procurement and induction symbolized his administration's dedication to national security.
The induction event was hosted at the Nigeria Air Force Base, Makurdi's 131 Engineering Group Hanger.
He acknowledged that from its inception in 1964, “NAF has been playing a critical role in the nation’s security, international operations and humanitarian needs.”
“Let me commend the Chief of Air Staff, officers and men for their commitment to enhancing national security. I assure you that the Tinubu administration will continue to support NAF and indeed, the Armed Forces of Nigeria towards combating terrorism, oil theft and other criminal activities.”
The President stated that significant progress had been made in ongoing counterterrorism measures, but that there was no reason to celebrate until the security concerns were properly resolved. He urged for a shift in thinking, strategy, and tactics to counter the problem.
Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, the Chief of Air Staff, had stated earlier in his address that the NAF had received no fewer than seven aircraft.
He stated that the new aircraft included two T-129 ATAK helicopters, a King Air 360 ER, and two Diamond 62 surveillance.
He also said that during the next 18 months, 46 additional aircraft of various types will be added to the NAF.
He added that, the air force has 533 technicians and 170 pilots who are currently undertaking both local and international training.
Mohammed Badaru, the minister of defence, thanked the president for his vision and unwavering support of the armed forces.
He urged the air force to make the most use of the recently acquired aircraft and stated that the introduction of the freshly acquired aircraft was evidence of Tinubu's determination to address national insecurity.
At the ceremony, experts said that Turkish Aerospace Industries, in collaboration with Leonardo SPA, developed the T129 ATAK, a twin-engine, tandem-seat, multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter, based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta platform.
It is known that the helicopter is intended for use in armed reconnaissance and attack operations in hot, high environments and rugged terrain during both day and nighttime.