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DEFENCE

NAF Inducts Helicopter Reactivated Locally in Port Harcourt

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 By Gom Mirian Abuja 

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has inducted into service another EC-135 Helicopter, NAF 549, which was reactivated in-country by NAF personnel in collaboration with some technical partners from within and outside Nigeria.

The induction of NAF 549 on Saturday, 24th August 2019, at the NAF 115 Special Operations Group (115 SOG) in Port Harcourt signifies the substantial progress the Service has made in its bid to continually build capacity to cope with technological advancements in the field of military aviation and further prosecute the various ongoing operations in the Country.

It could be recalled that the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, was in Port Harcourt in 2018 to unveil an Mi-35P helicopter, NAF 531, after an in-country Life Extension Programme, which was successfully conducted in Nigeria for the first time since the helicopter was inducted into the NAF in Year 2000.


 
In his remarks during the ceremony, the CAS noted that the addition of the newly re-activated EC-135 helicopter would be a force multiplier in the effort of the Service to secure the lives and property of Nigerians as well as protect the territorial integrity of the Country.

He added that the successful in-country reactivation of the helicopter has enabled the NAF to save scarce foreign exchange that would have been expended in carrying out the Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) abroad.

In addition, Air Marshal Abubakar explained that the in-country reactivation has enabled the transfer of required skills and expertise to NAF technicians, thereby helping the Service build additional capacity to sustain its operations.

According to him, “this is in line with the Service’s projected end state, which is to ensure that in the near future, the NAF would have sufficiently domiciled the technical expertise and technological know-how to conduct the full spectrum of maintenance activities locally using its own engineers, technicians and resources”.
 
Speaking further, the CAS added that in order to ensure adequate manning and capacity building for crew of its various helicopter fleets, the Service was conducting various initial and advanced training for NAF helicopter pilots both locally and overseas.

He stated that the Service recently approved the training of 10 helicopter pilots by Cobham Helicopter in the United Kingdom.

“We have also commenced the tactical training of NAF helicopter pilots at the 405 Helicopter Combat Training Group (405 HCTG) Enugu in order to build their capacity to function more effectively in complex air and ground environments.

All these efforts are being made to enable the NAF build its core competencies towards the employment of air power in the discharge of our constitutional responsibilities”, he added.
 
Air Marshal Abubakar restated his commitment to enhancing the welfare of personnel through the provision of conducive work and home environments for personnel and their families to enable them continue to put in their best in support of the various Internal Security operations across the Country.

This, he said, would include the provision of additional married accommodation for Officers and Senior Non Commissioned Officers (SNCOs) in Port Harcourt as well as the eventual upgrade of Air Force Secondary School Port Harcourt to a boarding school.

The CAS also used the opportunity to express the profound gratitude of the Service to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for the priority given to NAF’s efforts in maintaining its platforms and equipment as well as the support given to acquire new platforms such as the A-29 Super Tucano, JF-17 fighter aircraft, Mi-35M, Augusta A-109 Power and AW-139 helicopters.
 
Earlier, while delivering his welcome address, the Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command (AOC TAC), Air Vice Marshal Charles Owho, represented by the Chief of Staff, Air Commodore Shehu Bakari, expressed his delight for the enabling environment the current leadership of the NAF has granted the Command to display its ingenuity towards the achievement of the landmark feat.

He added that the reactivation would no doubt contribute to the actualization of one of the key drivers of the CAS’ Vision, which is, “robust logistics support and maintenance culture to sustain platforms and equipment serviceability”.
 
The reactivation programme of NAF 549, which had been unserviceable since June 2013 before its handover to the NAF in 2016, commenced on 10 January 18, with critical assessment of the helicopter, and the entire work was completed in June 2019.

The helicopter is one of the three EC -135 helicopters inherited by the NAF from the NNPC.

The other 2 EC 135 Helicopters, NAF 547 and NAF 548, have been reactivated in-Country and have since been deployed for operations.

Highlight of the event was the conduct of a Functional Check Flight (FCF) by pilots of the 115 SOG, under the guidance of the Commander, Air Commodore Elijah Ebiowe, to certify the aircraft ready for flight operations.

After which the technical documents for the aircraft were handed over to the CAS by the Chief of Aircraft Engineering CAcE, AVM Musa Mukhtar, who subsequently handed these over to the AOC TAC for safekeeping.

Also present at the induction ceremony were the Commander Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral A Akinrinade, as well as other serving and retired military officers and heads of other security agencies in Rivers State.
 
Before leaving Port Harcourt, the CAS, who was accompanied on the operational visit by other senior officers from Headquarters NAF, also had an interactive session with officers, airmen and airwomen of NAF units in Port Harcourt and other locations in the South South Geo-Political Zone.

The session was aimed at keeping the personnel informed about the policy directions of the Service while also receiving feedback as well as suggestions from them on how to move the Service forward for effective and efficient service delivery

CRIME

Military Kill Bandit Leader While Attempting to Rustle Cows

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From Dan Amasingha,  Minna 

Gallant  Military personnel have repelled an attempt by some  bandits  to rustle  cows and  neutralized the criminal  gang leader .

Two of the Military Personnel who participated in the operation however, sustained gun shot injuries.

 

DAILY ASSET  gathered that, the incident  happened at the early  hours of Monday  at a military base in Tegina, Rafi local government area of Niger state.

During the early hours fire fight between the security personnel and the  criminals,  one of the bandits suspected to be their leader was killed in the process when they came under superior  fire power.

It was reliably gathered that the said criminals were allegedly crossing towards Mashegu and Wushishi local government areas of the state to rustle a targeted groups of cattle in those areas.

The Chairman of Rafi local government council, Alhaji Ayuba Usman Katako confirmed this in a telephone interview in Minna.

He said the two soldiers shot were responding to treatment at IBB Specialized Hospital Minna while one of the bandits suspected to be their leader was neutralized.

Ayuba Katako further revealed that the military, police and vigilantes are trying their best in ensuring peace and security of lives and properties in the state and deserved to be commended.

He decried the continuous  attacks on security personnel,  but called  on citizens for patience, support and prayers to overcome the menace of insecurity bedeviling the state and Nigeria at large.

The Niger state military cantonment in  Minna could not be reached at the time of filing in the report.

Niger East Senatorial District has been  bedeviled by  insecurity with bandits  targeting schools,  vulnerable farming communities and public institutions  in the last seven years. 

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DEFENCE

Unprovoked Attacks on Soldiers Demoralizing, Unpatriotic – DHQ

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By David Torough, Abuja 

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) said consistent unprovoked attacks on military personnel in recent times by the civilian is capable of reducing the morale of soldiers in fighting terrorism.

The Director Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba disclosed this in a routine media briefing on Thursday in Abuja.

He pointed out that the unwarranted killing of 17 personnel in Delta State and the recent assault on unarmed personnel in Abuja were “worrisome and counterproductive.

According to him, “the attacks  not only harm our soldiers but also undermine our national security and hinder our efforts to defeat terrorism”.

He urged citizens to remember that “our soldiers are sacrificing their lives to protect us, and we must support them in this fight.”

He explained that “unprovoked attacks on soldiers are unpatriotic and amount to self-sabotage. Instead, let us work together to defeat terrorism and ensure our nation’s prosperity,” he said.

Buba said the military has demonstrated professionalism in the face of these attacks, but it was crucial for citizens to realize that their support is also essential to winning the war.

“We urge the public to report any erring troops and trust in the military justice system to address such matters.

“Together, we can defeat terrorism and ensure our nation’s prosperity. The Armed Forces of Nigeria remain committed to this cause and will continue to fight until victory is achieved,” Buba said.

He maintained that jungle justice does not have a place in any sane society, stressing that any civilian who encountered any wrong doing with a security personnel should seek redress in the constituted authority,adding that an attack on security Operatives is a “shade of wrongs”.

On the ongoing operations in the country, the Director said, during the month of May, troops have successfully degraded the potency of terrorist groups, neutralizing 624 terrorists, arresting 1,051 others, and rescuing 563 hostages.

Additionally, he said troops recovered a substantial amount of weapons and ammunition, including 707 assorted weapons and 16,487 rounds of ammunition even as they prevented oil theft worth an estimated N705,836,036.00.

”Troops are making significant progress in the ongoing counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations across the country”.

He explained that a joint operational environment and synergy with other security and intelligence agencies have greatly contributed to the success of the operations.

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COVER

Oil Theft: Navy Impound Three barges, Arrest Seven Suspects in Bayelsa

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The Nigerian Navy has impounded three barges laden with suspected stolen crude oil and refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) ,arresting seven, at Tunu Community Creek, in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa.

The Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) SOROH, Commodore Nanmar Lakan told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday that his command received an intelligence report on the illegal activities going on in the area and swung into action.

NAN reports that the seven suspects who were found on board the barges who claimed to be security working under Tunu leadership are kept under custody pending when the investigation is concluded.

According to Lakan, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has complained of the loss of 25 percent of their daily production in the area to oil thieves.

He said he swung into action by sending his men on both air and water surveillance in the area and their efforts paid off as the barges were impounded by his officers and men.

According to the Commander, two of the barges have the capacities of containing 637,000 litres of the products each while the third can contain 700,000 litres of the products.

Lakan added that investigation is ongoing to ascertain the owners of the barges and where the products were meant to be discharged.

He warned those who indulge in such illegal activities of oil theft to desist from such illegitimate business, as the Nigerian Navy will not allow them to find peace. (NAN)

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