Reports by the Nigerian Air Force indicates the commencement of constructing a new operational base in Ekiti State. This was identified as one of the many strategies to meet the surging demands of curbing the insecurity challenges that have ravaged the country. Additionally, it was noted that this would further provide operational support services to other bases operating within the South-West zone. During the ceremony held for the construction of the new base in Igbemo-Ekiti, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Oladayo Amao said that the event was immensely significant one, signifying the official handing and taking over of 1,257 hectares of land which was allocated to the force by the Ekiti State Government for the construction of the operational base at the state’s International Agro-Allied Airport.
The Chief of Air Staff further explained that this development was a long standing process which started with the former governor of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi CON, visited the headquarters of the NAF on the 11th of February, 2020, to solicit support for the International Agro-Allied Cargo Airport project in the state. He added that the force was encouraged by the immense promises of the state governor to help in the development of important infrastructures for the new base which will in turn, facilitate the quick deployment of personnel to the base. With security being a veritable necessity for social and economic development, the NAF Chief of Air Staff disclosed that there were plans to establish new bases in strategic locations across the country, in a bid to further address the recurring challenges of insecurity.
This new operational base will enhance a frontiers for economic activities.
Air Marshall Oladayo again disclosed the heart warming news that President Buhari had already authorized the acquisition of modern equipment to further facilitate the air power and projection capabilities, as well as the air combat training. This would be in addition to the already procured 49 aircraft which had been inducted into the Nigerian Air Force. Some of these additional platforms had been delivered to the force since December 2022, with others to be delivered in coming months. However, the addition of new bases with equipped aircraft hangars and alternate bases would be required for a seamless operation, which was in line with the principles of aircraft dispersal and optimization of air assets.
Also, the governor of the state, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, noted that this event was immensely historic one, indicating that it was a fulfillment of the state government’s vision to expand the security architecture and air military presence across the state. He indicated that the project would facilitate new frontiers for economic activities, as well as strengthening security architecture and enhance tourism in the state. The governor indicated that as a land locked state, it was important for the state to open and connect its economy with that of other parts of the world.
This project will be useful in safeguarding the people in the state.
Governor Biodun explained that this construction was due to the continuous efforts of his predecessor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, as well as the support of the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Saddiq Baba Abubakar. At this period, he was the Secretary to the government of Ekiti State. The governor noted that upon witnessing the engagements between the state and NAF, he was saddled with the responsibility of urging the Chief of Air Force Staff to hasten the process of establishing the operational base in the state. This, he stated, would help to further safeguard the people.
He said that it was the strategy of the state to take advantage of the geography as an equidistant location to their political and commercial capitalization. He however indicated that without the aviation and security infrastructural services, the state’s ambition to improve their tourism and prosperity status quo would be to show utter efficacy. He noted that the state needed a military base to also strengthen the security mix and ensure environmental safety. As such, he indicated that the event was a significant one for the state.
NAF to establish Unmanned Aerial Vehicle operational unit in Ekiti.
The Ekiti state governor thus expressed his profound gratitude to the Chief of Air Staff for his commitment to actualizing this project, as well as his promise to immediately activate the Air Defense project with the establishment of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operational unit in Ekiti state to look out for the air defense needs within the southwestern region of the country. He stated that the state would provide necessary logistic support for the take-off phase of the Air Force Base for its infrastructural development.