Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
House of Representatives has stated that it would give the desired support to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) because of the Force’s role in the fight against insecurity in Niger Delta region and the country in general.
Chairman of House Committee on Air Force, Sampson Okwu, declared this yesterday, when members of the Committee visited the 97 Special Operations Group (97 SOG) Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Okwu stated that the Committee was in Rivers and Bayelsa States, as part of its constitutional oversight function, to assess the readiness of the NAF in the fight against insecurity.
He said further that Federal Government’s effort in the fight against insecurity in the country, especially pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region, required proactive steps.
Okwu noted: “It is important to state at this juncture that the ongoing efforts by the present administration to stop pipeline vandalism and all other forms of vices in the country, call for a very proactive, well-equipped and dependable Air Force.
“Much is expected of the Nigerian Air Force in the attainment of this objective and the Committee will stop at nothing in rendering necessary support to the Force in that regard.
“Let me assure you that the House of Representatives is irrevocably determined to support the Nigerian Air Force to ensure efficient performance of its statutory functions to the benefit of Nigerians”, he assured.
Fielding questions from newsmen, after the federal lawmakers had toured round the several units at the Command, the Committee’s chairman reiterated their support for NAF for efficient performance.
The chairman stated: “We will encourage them; we will support them because a crime to the nation is a serious crime. The House Committee is in support of the Federal government efforts to ensure there peace in this country. We will provide the fund necessary for them to take off.
“It is pertinent we should come and inspect the 2016 appropriation Act that was passed in line with our constitutional responsibility. We also want to see how the Nigerian Air Force is combating militancy in the Nigeria Delta, that is, the Operation Delta Safe (ODS)”.
The Committee commended the Chief of Air Staff for his concerted efforts at ensuring improved living condition of officers and men of the 97 SOG, Port Harcourt.
“We are commending him because, if the officers are not well accommodated, the moral to go and fight insurgences will not be there. So, that is a key component and we have to appreciate the Chief of Air Staff for doing that.
He further said: “We need to make sure that the aircrafts really serviceable, so that we can see how they can fly and combat all this crime. We have seen that air power is necessary for Nigerian Air Force. So, the Committee is going to look at that in 2017 Appropriation Act.
He disclosed that the lawmakers had been briefed on the challenges faced by NAF personnel, assuring that the Committee would look into the challenges confronting 97 SOG, Port Harcourt, when they would prepare 2017 budget.