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Boko Haram: Italy to deliver 6 gunship helicopters to Nigeria

Boko Haram: Italy to deliver 6 gunship helicopters to Nigeria

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has said it was expecting delivery of new fighter aircraft from both the United States and Italy to intensify its aerial campaign against the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast.

The aircraft being expected are 12 Super Tucano, which the United States said would not be ready until 2023 and 6 Augusta 109 Power Helicopter gunship from Italy. The Air Force chief did not state the date of delivery of the latter.

Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Saddique Abubakar broke the news of the new aircraft while inaugurating Modular Theatre at the 465 Nigeria Air Force Hospital in Kano at the weekend.There was also some vagueness about the delivery date of the Super Tucano when NAF officials met with the officials of the United States Department Of Defence (US-DOD) in Abuja.

Brig.-Gen. Sean Farrell, the Director of United States Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation (AFSAC) Directorate, promised the Nigerian Air Force of on-schedule delivery of the 12 units of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft which were paid for by the Federal Government in April this year.

Farrell and members of his team were in Nigeria to discuss the delivery schedule of the aircraft as well as the construction at NAF Base, where the aircraft would be stationed.

The American Air chief expressed the readiness of his team to complete the execution of the contract in record time.In Kaduna, Abubakar said: “I have just inspected the hanger here at the NAF base where three of our aircraft are being reactivated.“It is in line with our commitment to have a professional Air Force which also has the necessary equipment to enable it discharge its duties effectively,” he said.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his continued support to the service pointing out that the Federal Government had within the last three years procured 18 brand new aircraft for NAF.He said NAF would continue to support its personnel with the view to enable them to continue to provide the necessary security for Nigeria and Nigerians.

On the Modular Theater, the Air Chief said its commissioning showed how committed the present administration is in meeting the healthcare needs of its personnel.

While calling on the hospital management to make the facility available to civilians around the area, Abubakar urged NAF personnel and their families to take advantage of the facilities provided.“The facility will go a long way in improving health care delivery to both NAF personnel and communities around the hospital,” he said.

Earlier, the Chief of Medical Services, NAF headquarters, Air Commodore M. E. Sha’aibu said with the inauguration, injured personnel from the theatre operation in the Northeast could be evacuated to the hospital for treatment.

“Although the theatre was built six years ago, it was neither fully completed nor equipped so could not be put to use.“However, realising the importance of the hospital in support of our operation in the Northeast, CAS directed that the theatre be completed, equipped and put to use immediately,” he said.

He said that the theatre comprised of offices, reception, lecture, common and recovery rooms and two operating suites.He added that it is also equipped with modern anesthetic machine, operating tables, theatre lamps, C-arm machines and operating microscopes.He commended CAS for providing funds for the maintenance of the equipment in the Radio diagnostic department of the hospital in addition to employing seasoned consultants.

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