The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, said on Tuesday in Ilorin, Kwara State that the six months extension of the state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States was to protect the lives and property of Nigerians in the affected states.
Badeh said this when he spoke with newsmen shortly after inspecting the Nigerian Airforce Hanger at the Ilorin International Airport.
It will be recalled that the Federal Government had on May 12, 2013 declared a state of emergency in the affected states due to the activities of insurgents in the areas.
After securing the approval of the Senate, President Goodluck Jonathan had on November 2 also extended the state emergency period by six months in the affected states.
Badeh told newsmen on Tuesday: “Due to the fact that the level of security required in those areas is not yet satisfactory, it is the sole responsibility of the government through the armed forces to continue to ensure maximum wellbeing of Nigerians living there.
“They (critics) can only deceive themselves but not Nigerians.
“Imposition and extension of the state of emergency becomes necessary and must be commended.”
The Air Chief said he was in Ilorin for two things: firstly, to see the extent of work done at the Airforce hanger and also get update on the training of officers at the International Aviation College.
He said: “I am satisfied with the level of work done there and hope that they will expedite action to do more so as to finish up in good time.
“As we all know, the Air Force is fully involved in security operations in all the states of the federation.
“If you look back to the period of Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, where we participated actively, militancy was brought to an end mainly because the Air force responded with full force
“Before then, the people were doing what pleased them in the area.
“It was a situation of do what you want.
“The Air force stepped in and halted the decay.”
Badeh said that his men were also fully involved in the security operations in Jos, Damaturu, Maiduguri and other areas in the North East region.
He said that the armed forces were created basically to secure Nigeria and Nigerians.
“I don’t know why people are complaining about the extension of the emergency period and saying that government has imposed hardship on them when, in fact, government is providing security for them to go about their normal activities,” he added.
On his visit to the International Aviation College, the NAF boss commended the authorities of the college, saying: “Honestly, I am very much impressed with the standard of facilities that I have seen.
“The standard is comparable to the standard you find anywhere in the world.”
Bade said he was in the US recently to see some Nigerian students who were undergoing training there, adding that what he saw in Ilorin was comparable to what he saw there.
He added: “Rather than go abroad, we should come and do things so as to patronise the school because the Kwara State Government does not have an airline of its own.”
He said things could be done better if necessary facilities were put right in the country.
Badeh, however, implored the management of the school to extend invitations to other countries in the West African sub-region, being the catchment area of the country, to take advantage of the facilities at the college.
The air chief was earlier received by the Commander, 203 Medium Airlift Group, Air Commodore Shafi Kudu, and other officers of the unit.