Zamfara Governor, Bello Matawale, has commended the Nigerian Air Force for its role in helping to “force” bandits, terrorising innocent people in the state to negotiating table.
Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, made this known in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
Daramola said the governor gave the commendation when he visited Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at the NAF Headquarters in Abuja.
Matawale said the pressure mounted on the criminals through air and ground assaults, “for the first time in more than 4 years, was able to halt attacks on villages thereby bringing relative calm to the State”.
The governor noted that it had been over three weeks since an attack was recorded in the state.
He explained that the decision to negotiate with the bandits was to immediately end all forms of insecurity in the state so that the people of Zamfara could go about their normal activities without fear.
According to him, markets, which were hitherto closed for several years, have since been reopened and several captives have regained their freedom.
He thanked the leadership of NAF and its personnel for their immense contributions to the gradual restoration of normalcy to Zamfara.
Matawale pleaded for additional support in the areas of community development and provision of healthcare services to help alleviate the shortfall in amenities caused by many years of banditry attacks.
Responding, Abubakar congratulated the governor for his efforts in bringing peace to the state and promised that NAF would continue to support the Zamfara peace initiative.
The CAS said NAF would sustain its Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions across Zamfara and surrounding states to deter attacks.
He said the establishment of the 207 Quick Response Wing in Gusau, with its helipads and fuel facilities, had added impetus to air operations and improved the conduct of ground operations by the 250 NAF Special Forces operating in Gusau and Bungudu Local Government Areas.
The air chief noted that the ultimate aim was to have a minimum of 700 Regiment and Special Forces personnel in Zamfara to compliment the efforts of other security agencies.
Abubakar said the establishment of a NAF Detachment in Birnin Gwari in Kaduna Stare had also enhanced the ability of the NAF to effectively conduct air operations in the area.
He said the two newly acquired Augusta 109 Power Helicopters, which were inducted by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during the recently concluded NAF Day Celebration, would soon be deployed to the Northwest.
The air chief further noted that the service had been working with the previous State Administration toward the construction of a new runway in Gusau to enable fixed wing aircraft operate from the state.
The CAS recalled that NAF had conducted a 5-day medical outreach in Shinkafi in August 2018 and had concluded plans to conduct medical outreaches in some other LGAs in the state.
He solicited for the continued cooperation of the people and government of Zamfara in the provision of intelligence to ensure effective and efficient conduct of operations.