The Governor of Taraba State, Dr Kefas Agbu, was at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Headquarters Yesterday, to interface with the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, on the need for improved collaboration in view of the various security challenges confronting Taraba State.
Governor Kefas had earlier acknowledged the pivotal role NAF plays in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations, particularly in the northeast region.
According to the Governor, “NAF’s air power capabilities provide the most potent solution to curbing the activities of terrorists and criminals operating in the northeast region, hence the need for an enhanced cooperation to checkmate the activities of these criminals particularly in Taraba State.”
In specific terms, the Governor sought for NAF’s intervention in patrolling the porous border the State shares with Cameroun which has been the route used by criminals in and out of the State. He also called for NAF’s support in curtailing the activities of terrorists and bandits within the State who were bent on making life unbearable for peace-loving Tarabans.
The Governor also informed the CAS of his plans to reopen and upgrade the Suntai Airport as well as his efforts at checkmating illegal mining activities in the State.
In his response, Air Marshal Abubakar commended Governor Kefas for his developmental initiatives, especially his agricultural transformation plans in view of the vast arable land in State as well as his educational and skills development programmes which will no doubt assist in getting the teaming youths employed thereby reducing crimes.
The CAS also expressed delight on the Governor’s plan to reopen and upgrade the Suntai Airport in Jalingo as this will not only lead to the resumption of domestic flights and attract investors but also enable NAF platforms to operate and enhance its operations in Taraba and beyond.
Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar commended the Governor for signing the Executive Order prohibiting illegal mining activities in the State. According to the CAS.
“Putting an end to illegal mining activities will enable Taraba State harness the wealth beneath its soil as well as discourage acts of criminality since it has now become clear that illegal mining activities is directly linked to terrorism and banditry.”
On the security risks posed by the extensive border Taraba shares with Cameroun, the CAS informed the Governor that he was not unmindful of the vast expanse of porous border land measuring about 107 Km which Taraba State shares with the Republic of Cameroun and the security threats that this poses for Taraba and indeed the entire Nation.
He then assured him that the NAF would collaborate with his Government in patrolling the vast border while also giving confidence to Tarabans to thrive.
According to the CAS, “Being one of our own, be rest assured of NAF’s full cooperation and support until you succeed in delivering the dividends of democracy to your people.”
A statement by Edward Gabkwet Air Commodore
Director of Public Relations and Information Nigerian Air Force revealed that on Governor Kefas’ entourage were some members of the Taraba State Executive Council while some NAF Branch Heads and Directors were also on hand to receive the Governor.