President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday inducted three brand new JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter aircraft into the inventory of the Nigerian Air Force.
The induction of the aircraft which took place at the Tactical Air Command of NAF Base in Makurdi marked the grand finale of this year’s NAF 57th anniversary celebration.
He said, “It reflects how the Service has continued to grow in stature and capability over the past 57 years, while developing competencies to achieve its constitutional mandate of defending the Nation’s territorial integrity by air and dealing with the security challenges facing our dear Nation.
“This induction ceremony is also most rewarding to me because it marks another step in the fulfilment of one of the promises I made at the beginning of my administration, to improve the infrastructure and equipment dispositions of the Armed Forces and other security agencies to enhance their output, professionalism and service delivery.
The president represented by the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, posited that the three JF-17 Thunder fighter ground attack aircraft being added to the inventory of the Nigerian Air Force will no doubt boost the operational capacity of the Service and add significant impetus to the fight against terrorism, insurgency, armed banditry and other forms of criminality in the country.
Buhari further saluted the resilience of the Nigerian people who have continued to resist all negative elements that seek to divide the nation with what he described as, “their destructive rhetoric and disingenuous propaganda.”
The president encouraged all law-abiding citizens to continue to stand together, respective of ethnic, tribal, religious or political affiliations, to pursue the greater goal of a secured, united and prosperous nation that would be bequeathed to generations yet unborn as there are no other alternative than to do so.
On his part, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, disclosed that the Service was expecting additional 20 aircraft into the country as from July this year.
“Let me place on record that, under the current administration, the Nigerian Air Force has inducted 23 brand new aircraft into its inventory from 2018 till date, comprising 10 Super Mushshak trainer aircraft and 13 rotary wing combat platforms.
“The combat platforms include, & MI-35M helicopter gunships, 4 Agusta 109 Power helicopters as well as 2 Mi-171E and 2 Belt 412 multi-role helicopters. The induction of the 3 JF-17 Thunder aircraft today brings the total number of new aircraft inducted in the last six years to 26,” Amao maintained.