Governor of Zamfara State, Dr. Bello Matawale, has commended the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) for the role it played in helping to force the armed bandits, who were terrorizing innocent people in Zamfara State to the negotiating table.
This is just as he noted that the pressure mounted on the criminals by the NAF, through air and ground assaults, in conjunction with other security agencies, for the first time in more than four years, was able to halt attacks on villages thereby bringing relative calm to the State.
The Governor gave this commendation while on a courtesy visit to the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at Headquarters NAF (HQ NAF) on Thursday in Abuja.
The Governor, who noted that it had been over 3 weeks since an attack was recorded in the State, explained that the decision to negotiate with the bandits was born out of the need to immediately end all forms of insecurity in the state so that the people of Zamfara can go about their normal activities without fear.
According to him, “markets, which were hitherto closed for several years, have since been reopened and several captives have regained their freedom”.
While thanking the leadership of the NAF and its personnel for their immense contributions to the gradual restoration of normalcy to the State, the Governor pleaded for additional support in the areas of community development and provision of healthcare services to help alleviate the shortfall in amenities caused by many years of banditry attacks.
In his response, the CAS congratulated the Governor for his efforts in bringing peace to the state while promising that the NAF would continue to support the Zamfara State peace initiative.
Accordingly, he said the NAF would sustain its Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions across Zamfara and surrounding States to deter attacks. He added that the establishment of the 207 Quick Response Wing (207 QRG) Gusau, with its helipads and fuel facilities, had not only added impetus to air operations but also improved the conduct of ground operations with the 250 NAF Special Forces (SF) operating in Gusau and Bungudu Local Government Areas (LGAs).
He noted that the ultimate aim was to have a minimum of 700 Regiment/SF personnel in Zamfara to compliment the efforts of other security agencies.
Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar said the establishment of a NAF Detachment in Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State had also further enhanced the ability of the NAF to effectively conduct air operations in the area.
He remarked that the two newly acquired Augusta 109 Power Helicopters, which were inducted by the Vice President Yemi Oshinbajo during the recently concluded NAF Day Celebration, would soon be deployed to the Northwest.
He noted further that the Service had been working with the previous State Administration towards the construction of a new runway in Gusau to enable fixed wing aircraft operate from the State.
The CAS recalled that the NAF had conducted a 5-day medical outreach in Shinkafi in August 2018 and had concluded plans to conduct medical outreach in some other LGAs in the State.
He however solicited for the continued cooperation of the people and Government of State in the provision of intelligence to enable the effective and efficient conduct operations.