By Gift Samuel, The Sight News
Abuja-The Nigerian Air Force is set to hold the third edition of the lnter Command Combat Sports Competition dubbed ‘Uyo 2018’.
This year’s edition is scheduled to hold from 2 to 7 April 2018 at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo and will see 650 personnel of the NAF compete amongst themselves.
Speaking in a press briefing on Thursday ahead of the event, the Chairman Organizing Committee, Air Commodore Mfon Ekpoh noted that the choice of Uyo was in recognition of the contributions of Akwa Ibom State to the development of sports in Nigeria as well as the availability of standard sporting facilities in Uyo stadium.
According to him, “It is pertinent to put on record that the last two editions of the Nigerian Air Force Combat Sports Competitions organized in 2016 and 2017 respectively, under the leadership of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar to promote combat fitness and espirit-de-corps among the personnel were successful.
“There was no doubt that the competition since inception has contributed significantly towards effective and efficient service delivery in the NAF as reflected in the physical fitness and mental alertness displayed by the Nigerian Air Force personnel.
“It was in a bid to leverage on the importance of sporting activities to military operations that the Chief of the Air Staff came up with quite a number of initiatives including renovations, upgrading and construction of new sporting facilities across Nigerian Air Force Bases to enhance regular exercise among personnel” He noted.
Air Commodore Ekpoh further said that this year’s event remains the same symbol of regimentation as it is designed to test the combat readiness of personnel in a competitive manner while also promoting participation in sporting activities for enhanced combat capability.
He pointed out that participants including personnel deployed to the ongoing counterinsurgency operation in the North East and other internal security operations across the country would be competing in various sporting events including combat swimming, combat relay race, taekwando, tug of war and obstacle crossing.
Furthermore,the Chairman said the event would also feature shooting exercise at the shooting range located in the Nigerian Army Barracks, Abak, adding that seven teams comprising Headquarters Nigerian Air Force, Tactical Air Command, Special Operations Command, Mobility Command, Air Training Command, Ground Training Command and Logistics Command as well as Direct Reporting Units are expected to produce participants that would compete in the outlined sporting events.
He announced that outstanding athletes during the competition will cart away medals with an opportunity to represent the Nigerian Air Force and the nation in future championships.
On the safety of Uyo residents, he said, “Consequently the City of Uyo and its environs will witness considerable movement of troops and military equipment deployed for the competition within the scheduled period.
“The general public is therefore urged not to panic or entertain any form of fear when they see movement of troops and equipment in particular the shooting exercise during the period.
“They are advised to go about their normal lawful businesses as adequate measures have been put in place to guarantee their safety” He advised.