Budget defence: Senate committee commends NAF on laudable achievements

Budget defence: Senate committee commends NAF on laudable achievements

- The chairman Senate committee on Air Force, Senator Duro Samuel Faseyi, has commended the Nigerian Air Force (NAF)

- Senator Faseyi commended NAF for its prudent management of resources which has resulted in many laudable achievements

- Senator Faseyi also commended the leadership of the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar

The Senate committee on Air Force has called for more funding for the Nigeria Air Force (NAF), to assist it in its critical role of safeguarding the country’ territorial integrity.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Duro Faseyi made the call at the NAF’s budget defence exercise on Thursday, March 29 in Abuja.

While decrying that the 2018 budget had capital release of less than 50 per cent, Faseyi said more was needed to be done in terms of releases to the NAF.

He noted that, “The problem is under-funding, because the Air Force is saddled with so much responsibility like surveillance and many more.

“The 2018 budget did not even have up 50 per cent capital release. We had to roll it over to this year.

“Their job is enormous yet the funding is poor. They are the ones that would spot attacks and areas that should be on red attack before those on land go ahead to attack.

“Besides, they are useful in other areas like lifting of electoral materials particularly in the last elections.

“Everything about air is expensive including fueling. The jet A One for instance is very expensive.”

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The chairman while appreciating efforts made by President Muhammadu Buhari in coming to their aid when necessary, however said beyond that, the NAF’s budgetary allocation should be increased.

He said the committee on its part would approach the Senate committee on appropriation and the minister of budget and national planning to make a special case for increment.

He commended the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar for his effort to reposition the NAF.

Presenting the budget, Air Marshall Abubakar said the NAF had made tremendous process in carrying out its core mandate.

“The Air Force has been actively engaged in combating several security challenges bedeviling the nation which include act of terrorism, kidnapping, armed banditry and militancy among others.

“The NAF is involved in several operations. Some of which include Operations Lafiya Dole in the North East, Diran Mikiya in the North West and Yanchin Tafki in the Lake Chad Basin to mention a few.

“With your support, this administration has increased the serviceability status of NAF aircraft from about 40 per cent to an average of 80 per cent today.

“The improved serviceability status enabled us carry out over 43, 000 sorties of about 57,000 flying hours between June 15 and Feb. 18 for various operations.

“These include 20,140 flying hours for Intelligence and Surveillance that enabled the NAF to get real time information to assist surface forces and NAF aircraft carry out precise attacks if necessary.

“The NAF has also substantially increased its aircraft fleet by inducting 22 new aircraft into its fleet and reactivated erstwhile unserviceable ones, while eight others are currently being overhauled,’’ he said.

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Meanwhile, the Nigerian military has assured Nigerians that it would not truncate the country's nascent democracy, adding that it is fully subordinated to civil authority.

The military's assurance followed reactions arising from its conduct in the just concluded general elections and militarisation of some parts of the country.

At a press conference addressed jointly by spokespersons of the Defence Headquarters, Police, Army, Navy and Air Force in Abuja, the Defence spokesman, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, said contrary to insinuations in some quarters, the military would not truncate Nigeria’s fledgling democracy.

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