Gov Otti receives COAS Hasan Abubakar as Air Force moves to set up base in Abia



Dr. Alex Otti, Abia State Governor, has welcomed the decision by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to set up an operational base in the State, promising to give the Force all the support it needs to take off.

Governor Otti, according to a statement by Kazie Uko, his chief press secretary, said the move by the Air Force to establish a base in Abia couldn’t have come at a better time than now that the Federal Government had put machinery in motion to build an airstrip in the State.

The Governor said the presence of the Air Force in Abia has become even more necessary at this time, following attempt by some yet-to-be-identified gunmen to scuttle the peace that Abians have been enjoying in the last one year, with the killing of five soldiers at an army post in Obikabia, Obingwa Local Government Area of the State.

Governor Otti spoke on Friday when he received the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Bala Abubakar, who visited him in his country home in Umuehim, Nvosi, Isialangwa South Local Government Area.

“We want to particularly thank you for this very great approval that you have given to set up your presence in Abia State. It couldn’t have come at a better time. The Federal Government just approved that an airstrip be located in Abia and the authorities including the Ministry of Aviation, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, NAMA, and the rest of them, have been here. We had a very good engagement.

“We have already given them a site for the airport, which is a very large place. We are also committed to partnering with them to expand it from an airstrip to an airport.

“This is a great time for Abia, it’s a great time for you to be here since we have an airport coming. Luckily, it is a very large parcel of land and by that airport we are going to give you land to site your operations,” an appreciative Governor Otti told the Air Force Chief, while thanking him for the visit.

To further demonstrate his determination to have the Air Force hit the Abia skyline as well as put boots on the ground, Governor Otti offered a temporary take off location for the air wing of the Nigerian armed forces in Umuahia, capital of Abia, pending the construction of the permanent site.

Governor Otti receives a souvenir from the visiting Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar.

According to him, this arrangement would help both the State and the Nigerian Air Force to quickly realise the good gesture that the air Chief had extended to Abia.

“So, we will give you a temporary site in Umuhia. We will also provide residences for your men and also provide vehicles for them to move around and any other thing that they require. I believe that we can achieve this in the next one to two months,” Governor Otti said, adding that the presence of the Nigerian Air Force in Abia “will be very useful to also support the activities of other security agencies that are working closely with us”.

Governor Otti told Air Marshal Abubakar that the citizens of Abia had enjoyed relative peace until last Thursday, May 30, when some dare devil criminals ambushed the army post in Obikabia and slaughtered the five soldiers on duty in cold blood.

“Interestingly, the government has placed a bounty of 25 million Naira, and just yesterday, an Abia son, who also comes from Obingwa and lives in the United States of America, sent us five million Naira to upgrade the bounty to 30 million Naira.

“So, I’m happy to announce that the bounty has been just upgraded to 30 million Naira to encourage anyone that has useful information that would lead to the apprehension of the criminals who came here to terrorise us,” the Governor said, describing the tragedy as “very unfortunate isolated incident”.

He reiterated the commitment of the Abia State Government to work with the various security agencies to ensure that the ugly incident of May 30 did not happen again.

“We are very, very single-minded about it. We must fish them out and ensure that they will get the message that this place is a no-go area for terrorists, for killers, for kidnappers and criminals.

“So, once again, I will like to say thank you very much for this visit. As you nominate one of your men that will work with us, the SA Security is hereby empowered to work with your men to ensure that everything that you require to hit the ground running, immediately, is provided, while we begin the process of the construction of the permanent site,” Governor Otti declared.

Earlier, Air Marshal Abubakar said that the essence of his visit was to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Governor and explore opportunities for collaboration between the Nigerian Air Force and Abia State.


Abubakar requested the state government to provide them a parcel of land for the establishment of an Air Force Base in Abia to enhance security not only in Abia but the entire South East Zone of the country.

He applauded Governor Otti for his dedication to governance and commitment to the development of the State as well as his leadership style, “which is people oriented and centered to judicious management of public resources in order to improve the living standards of Abians”.

AVM Abubakar used the opportunity to commiserate with the State Government on the unfortunate incident, which led to the loss of five soldiers at Obikabia, assuring that the Nigerian Air Force would partner other security agencies to bolster security in the State.

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