As part of efforts geared towards improving the operational skills of Regiment personnel in the fight against insurgency and other forms of criminality across the country, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Wednesday, commissioned a Commando Village at NAF Base Bauchi.
The Commando Village, which is designed as a typical rural area scenario, would be used by the NAF Regiment personnel for training and simulation exercises.
Speaking during the commissioning, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, stated that the NAF’s desire to have a professional force that is capable of not only projecting Air Power but also protecting its assets and bases led to the drive to rapidly develop NAF force protection capability.
This, he said, necessitated the establishment of the Special Operations Command (SOC), along with its component Quick Response Groups and Wings, as well as the rapid capacity building of NAF Regiment and Special Forces (SF) within the last three and half years.
The CAS emphasized that this was done to strengthen the NAF’s Base Defence architecture whilst also providing well trained personnel for the conduct of Internal Security (IS) duties in aid to Civil Authority. He said, as a result, the NAF had deployed over 600 SF personnel to various Theatres of Operation, with 300 SF personnel deployed to Benue State under Operation WHIRL STROKE and another 300 deployed to Zamfara State under Operation SHARAN DAJI.
He said these were to ensure the security of the lives and properties of Nigerians to enable them go about their legitimate aspirations without fear. Air Marshal Abubakar reiterated that security and development were 2 sides of the same coin. “There can be no development without security – they go hand in glove”, he said.
He further affirmed that the NAF would continue to collaborate with other security agencies to maintain peace and security of the Nation. The CAS also disclosed that, apart from the new Commando Village and the already existing one in Kaduna, 2 more mock Villages would be built; one at Ipetu Ijesa in Osun State and another in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.
While appreciating the resolute support of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, the CAS promised to sustain the efforts towards enhancing nation building. He also expressed delight with the performance of the NAF Regiment and SF personnel and lauded their achievements in the various Theatres of Operation.
The CAS equally congratulated the Chief of Training and Operations, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Oladayo Amao, and the Director of Regiment Headquarters NAF, Air Commodore Patrick Phillips, for conceptualizing and implementing the capacity building programme which had yielded such commendable results.
Air Marshal Abubakar said efforts would be sustained to improve the infrastructure around the mock village to enable the training of a larger number of personnel per time. He charged the Regiment personnel to make best use of the village to further develop their skills while ensuring proper maintenance of the facilities.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Commander 251 Base Services Group, Air Commodore Nazif Aliyu, thanked the CAS for his relentless efforts at providing the necessary infrastructure to enable NAF Base Bauchi fulfill its assigned tasks.
He noted that the Commando Village, which was the first of its kind in the Northeast, would assist in enhancing the skills and capacity of NAF Regiment personnel. Also present at the ceremony were the Air Officer Commanding SOC, AVM Napoleon Bali, along with other senior military officers and heads of security agencies in Bauchi.
The highlight of the occasion was the hostage rescue Close Quarter Battle (CQB) simulation exercise conducted by the Regiment personnel to the delight of guests.