The federal government has revealed that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has deployed at least 100 fighter jets as the search for the 110 schoolgirls abducted on February 19, just as the Chief of Air Staff (CAC) Sadique Abubakar relocated to Yobe state.
The Nation reports that 20 of the jets have flown 200 hours as at late Monday, February 26, according to a fact sheet on the search released by Lai Mohammed, the information minister.
The report also quoted Babagana Monguno, the National Security Adviser (NSA), who visited Governor Ibrahim Gaidam in Damaturu, the Yobe state, on Tuesday, February 27, as announcing that 80 other planes would join the search for the girls.
“The Nigerian Air Force has deployed 20 aircraft in Maiduguri and 80 others on their way. So far, 200 hours have been utilized in flying sorties looking for these girls.
“We have also been made aware of the fact that the Nigerian Air Force will step up its operation regardless of the very hard and severe weather condition.”
“Back in Abuja, we have set up our own machinery in dealing with this situation. All the security agencies have been working together.
“The situation room has been expanded – the one in the office of the National Security Adviser that is linked directly to all other security agencies but most importantly to the theatre command over here.
“I have made efforts with my counterparts across the region to try and work and share intelligence together and see how quickly we can bring to an end this very unfortunate situation.
“But, apart from that, we are also looking at other measures in dealing with past occurrences and how to forestall any future occurrence.
“The government will continue to push harder, dealing with all organizations – local and international – and engaging with every group that comes forward to see that these girls are brought back safely to their parents. This is a commitment that the government has made,” he said.
In his response, Gaidam was reported as saying it was “unfortunate that prior to the attack, the Army units stationed in Dapchi and Bayamari towns were removed.
“We are, therefore, of the opinion that there is no reason whatsoever to take that untimely action since Dapchi is the headquarters of one of the frontline local governments and Bayamari too is one of the major settlements close to the neighboring Republic of Niger associated with porous terrain that should be protected.”
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