President Buhari’s Speech at Unveiling of Mi-171 E Combat Helicopter and Other Fighter Jets
I am delighted to be here this morning to once again commission 2 x Agusta 109 Power and MI-171E helicopters into the Nigerian Air Force inventory.
About a year ago, we commissioned 2 x Agusta 109 Power helicopter gunships which were procured from Italy.
The platforms were subsequently inducted into the Nigerian Air Force inventory to boost the operational capacity. This was necessary to improve delivery of robust air power in support of our counter terrorism and counter insurgency efforts.
It is on record that these additional platforms have contributed immensely to the Air Force’s successes and decimation of Boko Haram insurgents.
The Nigerian Air Force since its establishment in 1964, has been playing critical roles in national security as well as in peace-keeping operations on the African continent.
Your contributions in internal security, peace keeping and humanitarian operations in places like The Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Mozambique, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Cameroon have not only been a source of pride to us as a nation, but has also projected us as a reliable regional power.
This is indeed most commendable as our Air Force, alongside other Services, continues to play its unique role in the counter-insurgency operations and other operations particularly in the North East and the North West where our officers, airmen and airwomen, soldiers and ratings are performing gallantly.
I promised to put an end to Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping and other forms of criminalities that have bedeviled our country during my inaugural speech as President.
You will all agree with me that the successes we have achieved so far have restored our pride and honour the world over. Consequently, I want to sincerely thank Nigerians for believing in our government inspite occasional outrages, coming together as a nation, irrespective of political, religious and ethnic affiliations, in our strive to bring this menace to an end.
I want to, once again, salute the resolve of our Armed Forces and the invaluable contributions of all security agencies for their efforts towards the decimation of Boko Haram.
It is noteworthy that professionalism, capacity building and adequately equipping the Armed Forces and other security agencies are a major policy thrust of this Administration.
We promise to re-professionalise and re-equip the Armed Forces and security agencies to effectively discharge their duties to our nation.
I have no doubt that the deployment of these Agusta 109P gunships and the M-17IE helicopter would add impetus to the combat efficiency of the Air Force in combating our contemporary security challenges.
We are committed to taking the right steps in achieving the desired results. The acquisition of these aircraft amongst other military equipment despite our budgetary constraints is an expression of our commitment.
We shall ensure that every sector of our nation experience the change that we have promised.
I therefore expect discipline in operation and a strong maintenance culture that will enable the nation to derive maximum benefits from this acquisition.
I commend the support of the Governments of Italy and the Russian Federation, in particular efforts of the Italian and Russian Ambassador to Nigeria at sustaining the strategic partnership between our countries, which facilitated this acquisition.
We will continue to take steps that would deepen our bilateral relations. This administration has taken concrete steps to make the investment climate as friendly as possible for foreign investors and we will strive to maintain this tempo.
The degree of confidence of foreign investors in our country is growing and efforts are ongoing to attract more foreign investment in the non-oil sector of the economy so as to achieve the level of diversification we desire to see in our economy.
Finally, I congratulate the Chief of the Air Staff and all the personnel of the Air Force on this occasion of the commissioning of the Agusta 109 Power and MI-171E helicopters gunships into the Service.
I hereby induct the two Agusta 109P gunships and MI-171E helicopter as NAF 578 and 579 into the Service of the Air Force and our country. As you fly these aircraft, I wish you safe flying operations, safe skies as well as the equal number of takeoffs and landings!.
Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.