From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Oyo State Government and the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) have renewed their commitment to the safety of the state and the South West.
The renewal of the commitment was made when Governor Seyi Makinde played host to the Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Logistics Command, Ikeja, Lagos, Air Vice Marshal Charles Ohwo, and his team during a courtesy visit to his office at Agodi in Ibadan, the state capital on Monday.
According to AVM Ohwo, the NAF ‘is ready to contribute its quota to ensure that the South West and specifically Oyo State is safe for people to go out and do their businesses.’
He noted that the governor has done so much for NAF and other services, saying: ‘I want to specifically thank you for the piece of land you gave to the Nigerian Air Force to put up a befitting Air Force base. Before coming here, I spoke to the Chief of the Air Staff. It is his desire to also appreciate you for the support for our school and the transformer you donated and all other projects.’
Governor Makinde said in his address: ‘We are happy to have you here and equally pledge that we will continue to cooperate with the Nigerian Air Force and other security agencies in Oyo State. I know it is a very difficult period for our country, with the insurgency in the North East and banditry in the North West. We are also faced with a difficult economic environment.
‘So, I believe that the current set of leaders of our country have been so challenged when you compare them with what we have done. The only set of leaders that have had this kind of challenge are maybe the leadership during the civil war. We are just very close to the kind of challenges they faced during the period. During the civil war, we had money at the time. But for us at this period, we are faced with an almost equal challenge as the civil war, but there is no money.’
Governor Makinde, who noted that the name of the Nigerian armed forces would be written in gold when the history of the country would be written, stated further, “We are happy with the cooperation that we have enjoyed from the Air Force in Oyo State. We are excited that we are expanding the footprint of the Nigerian Air Force here with the planned Airforce Base and whenever the Chief of Air Staff is ready, we are ready to do the groundbreaking.
‘We just constituted the Oyo State Executive Council and we have a new Commissioner for Lands and Urban Planning, and one of his tasks is to ensure that compensation is paid for the land we are providing for the base. Also, I have in our next year’s budget under my office, a special fund we can use to support this kind of programme.
‘We are excited about that possibility and we are also currently doing some projects around the Airport. All the roads leading to the Airport have been awarded and we are just waiting for the contractors to mobilise to sites. We have also awarded the contract for the fuel dispensing facility at the airport.
‘We are doing everything here to ensure that the Airport is fully upgraded and we also have the project to extend the runway from the current 2.7 kilometres to 3.3 kilometres so that bigger aircraft can land in there.’