NIGERIAN Airforce, on Saturday, said it had begun an aerial patrol of Abuja and Kaduna State as part of measures to combat kidnapping and other crimes in the area.
Air Vice Marshal Nuruddeen Balogun, who spoke during the commencement of the patrol, said the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, had directed that the combined operations be carried out in the area in view of the security issues bedeviling the North-East, North-West and the federal capital.
He disclosed that three light utility helicopters capable of kinetic action had been deployed for the operation and said the force would “coordinate the activities of the ground force with what we see airborne and make sure we bring effective fire and action to bear on whosoever it is that has intention of breaching the security.”
According to him, the area of operations covers the Federal Capital Territory, the Abuja-Kaduna highway, Birnin Gwari-Kaduna highway, the Falgore forest area, Minna general area and the Kano-Kaduna highway.
He said, “We are looking at kidnappers. We are looking at armed robbers. We are looking at cattle rustlers mainly.
“It has been on for as long as the directive has been given. There is no time frame. We will continue to do it until it subsides completely.
“I am sure Nigerian understand the situation we find ourselves now. Anybody who is innocent has nothing to fear, only people with criminal intent should be worried. There is no problem. It is a normal routine activity, we will make sure we identify and confirm before any action is taken.
“It is a combination of operations, Operations Yaki, Operations Sharan Daji, the joint operations is taking place in Abuja,” he said.
Speaking, the Chief of Army Staff, Leiutenant-General Tukur Buratai, said “we want to assure Nigerian, by this exercise, that even at the highest level, we are capable, and willing to face the challenges in the Nigerian state.
“If we can do this at this level, then you can imagine what our officer and air men are doing in the battle front.
“The challenges in the North-East has been substantially addressed, so we are not to worried now with the North-East?.