The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is building an apron, hangar and aircraft shelters at the Umaru Musa Yar’adua International Airport in Katsina.
Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, made this known in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said the Katsina airport serves as the Headquarters of the Air Component of Operation HADARIN DAJI.
Daramola said the construction of the shelters followed the recent massive deployment of air assets and ground support equipment.
This is to reinforce internal security operations against bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers and other criminal elements in the North West and North Central parts of the country.
“The aircraft shelters would ensure that aircraft deployed for operations in the North West Theatre, with their delicate onboard avionics and electrical instruments, are not unduly exposed to the harsh effects of weather.
“Similarly, the hangar would provide a more conducive environment for the conduct of maintenance activities thereby reducing the need to fly aircraft outside of the operational area for the conduct of repair works,” he said.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, after inspecting the project site on Tuesday, said that the facilities being emplaced would no doubt enhance the NAF’s operations in dealing with bandits and other criminal elements in Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and surrounding states.
Abubakar said that the construction work would be executed through ‘direct labour’ by NAF Engineers from the Directorate of Services.
He noted that some of the materials, including the frames for the aircraft shelters, had been relocated using NAF C-130H aircraft from another NAF unit, where they were not being used.
The air chief added that the new facilities would also form part of the infrastructure for the NAF Central Flying School, once fully activated.
He expressed his gratitude to the governor of Katsina State, Malam Aminu Masari, for allocating the land for use by the NAF.
Abubakar equally appreciated the Emirs of Katsina and Daura as well as the people of the state for their support to the NAF, especially in the provision of useful information.
He said that the fight against banditry was a collective responsibility that required the cooperation of all well-meaning Nigerians.
The air chief was conducted on the inspection by AVM Charles Ohwo, the Air Officer Commanding Special Operations Command, and the NAF Director of Services, Group Capt. Abdullahi Abubakar.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Abubakar was accompanied on the visit by Branch Chiefs and Directors from Headquarters of NAF as well as other senior NAF officers.