BENIN CITY – Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has hailed the gallantry of the officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces for degrading terrorists and criminality in the country, saying that Nigerians now feel more safe and secure.
Speaking while commissioning a block of 12 flats of two bedrooms each at the Shittu Alao Base, 81 Air Maritime Group, Nigerian Air Force, Benin City, Friday, Governor Adams Oshiomhole said, “We in Edo State are very proud of the efforts of the Nigerian armed forces, not only in defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria and confronting insurgency and acts of sabotage, whether it is boko haram or those who have chosen to undermine national assets by breaking pipelines, but in Edo State for complementing our efforts in operation thunder storm and being very active in the security apparatus of the state. We cannot thank you enough for all of these. In our own small way, we have also tried to make a statement that as far as the government of Edo State is concerned, the armed forces that are present in this state are part and parcel of the Edo society and Edo community.”
The Governor further said, “The Nigerian armed forces have shown that in addition to all of the sentiments expressed by the Chief of the Air Staff, that when the Commander-in-chief appears to identify with the armed forces and provide the correct leadership, the Nigerian armed forces are still the best in the Africa continent. We have seen it that just two years ago around this time, social media, main media, and electronic media was awash with stories about officers running away from battle, but just now, nobody hears such things any more. What has changed? In my conversation with the Chief of Army Staff, he told me that things didn’t just change overnight in terms of equipment. What changed overnight is the attitude and perception of the commander-in-chief and of the new service chiefs that he appointed that the officers and men can relate with. When the leadership is inspiring, he understands, he listens, he engages, everybody wants to work. And I think that is what has happened. Today, Nigerians feel more secure. Boko haram doesn’t have the audacity to hoist a flag in any part of Nigeria now. They are the ones on the run, and we are now more secure, more safe and people now believe that generally with time, boko haram will be a thing of the past. So, Chief of Air Staff, we are proud of what you have accomplished, the inspiring leadership you are providing and the way you have identified the welfare of officers as a major component of your responsibility as you seek to elevate and uplift the Nigerian Air Force.”
He commended the Chief of Air Staff for naming the new block of residential quarters after a late officer who died in the course of duty and the Governor supported the family of the late Warrant Officer, Sababa J. with the sum of N1 million.
He said, “You could have chosen to name this building after yourself or to name it after a former chief of air staff, but you have chosen to name it after a younger officer who paid the supreme price in his effort to contribute to the safety and security of our nation. This, I am sure, will remind the family of this officer that he didn’t die in vain, and that the community and the society appreciated the course that he died for, and his name has been immortalized forever.”
He further said, “A couple of years back, we decided to work with the 81 Maritime Group to do some of the internal roads in the Air Force Base. For me that is consistent with our mandate. I believe that when men and women offer to stand and defend their father land even when sometime they pay the supreme price in the process, the least that we owe them as government is to demonstrate that we appreciate their contribution by providing for the welfare of the family and the children. I am also very excited and I want to thank the Chief of the Air Staff for the decision to build a secondary school, Air Force Secondary School. One of the critical non-negotiable obligations we owe to our children is to give them adequate education, and I believe primary and secondary schools are critical.”
Speaking on the determination of the State government to issue a certificate of occupancy to the Air Force for the land they have acquired, Governor Oshiomhole said, “Before I leave, we will sign the title document so that the ownership of the land is not in dispute. In doing that, we will wave all charges. We will issue the certificate of occupancy at zero cost to the Air Force. I will like to be able to contribute just as a way of showing our appreciation to the Chief of Air Staff in choosing to build a secondary school here. Even tight as things are, Edo State Government will contribute N10 million as seed money. I will ensure that the unit commander can collect this cheque by Wednesday next week, three days before the end of my tenure.
Earlier in his remark, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Baba Abubakar, who is the 20th Chief of the Air Staff in Nigeria and an accomplished said, “I am very delighted to be here once again for the commissioning of yet another project, this time a newly completed bock of twelve flats of two bedrooms each for senior and non-commissioned officers. This construction work was carried out alongside other projects aimed at addressing the problem of the personnel accommodation in the Nigerian Air Force.”
The Chief of Air Staff further said, “I am also appreciative of the Edo State people, and in particular His Excellency the Executive Governor of Edo State, the Comrade Governor of Edo State for his support to the Nigerian Air Force unit. I am aware that arrangements are ongoing for the Nigerian Air Force to obtain title deeds in respect of some Nigerian Air Force lands in Edo State. I want to thank you most sincerely, your Excellency for all the support you have been extending to our personnel in Benin.”
Also speaking while welcoming Governor Oshiomhole and Air Marshall Sadique Baba Abubakar to the Shittu Alao Air Force Base, the Commander of the 81 Air Maritime Group, Nigerian Air Force, Benin City, Group Capt. Ernest Effiom enumerated the achievements of the Nigeria Air Force Formation in its operations in the Niger Delta region to combat pipeline vandalism and other criminalities. He also commended Governor OIshiomhole for his support to the Nigeria Air Force in the Edo State.
The highpoint of the ceremony was the commissioning of the block of 12 flats by Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Baba Abubakar, accompanied by some top officers of the Nigerian Air Force, had earlier paid a courtesy visit to Governor Adams Oshiomhole at the Government House, Benin City.