CHINA has stepped up its military cooperation with Nigeria by taking in over 70 Nigerian Air Force (Naf) personnel and training them with a view to getting them to activate an old airbase in the northeast of the country.
With Nigeria battling am insurgency against Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast of the country, the use of air power has become critical to military operations. Historically, the Naf was trained by the Soviet Union who supplied it with MiG jets but now that new tactics need to be used, including the deployment of attack helicopters, military commanders are widening their scope.
Consequently, more than 70 Nigerian air men are currently in China on a special training where they have been for four months and will return next week. Upon their return, they will be deployed to activate the 203 Combat Reconnaissance Naf base in Gombe State.
Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, Nigeria’s chief of air staff, said that the NAF base in Gombe State was strategic in the fight against insurgency, banditry and other criminal activities in the north. He noted that additional special force units would be stationed to protect Naf assets from attack.
He told Governor Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State: “We are very excited that we are going to have this unit activated. Marshal Abubakar assured the governor that the military, in collaboration with other services, would continue to protect Nigeria’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty.