Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, on Thursday, pledged to donate the sum of Five Hundred Million Naira(N500m), for the construction of the 671 Air Force Base located in Ajia area of Ibadan, Oyo State.
The governor, who announced the donation while performing the official ground-breaking of Air Force Base, Ajia, Ibadan, commended the Force for contributing positively stemming the tide of insecurity in the state.
According to him, efforts of the Air Force and other security agencies are noted in fighting against insurgency, banditry, and other security threats in various parts of the country.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa quoted Governor Makinde as saying that the state was eager to see to the completion of the project, adding that the coming of the Air Force to Ajia and the Ibadan Airport will not only enhance security but also positively affect the push for economic expansion.
He said: “I already said earlier that the state government will be supporting the building of the Air Force Base with N500m. It is available and we want to see rapid construction start here. So far, the Oyo State Government has been working collaboratively with the various security agencies in the state.
“When completed, this new base will improve the operational reach of the Nigerian Air Force in Oyo State and enhance crisis response time.
“Let me, at this point, commend the efforts of our military personnel in the fight against insurgency, banditry, and other security threats in various parts of our country. I will always say that our security agencies often perform a thankless job. No one remembers you when there is peace, but people begin to ask what you were doing once there is a breach. So, let me say thank you.”
He appreciated the efforts of the security agencies operating in the state for discharging their duties diligently adding that they should continue to remain true gentlemen in the discharge of their duties.
He added that the state will continue to support the security agencies to achieve their true objectives.
He added: “I want to commend the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao, for his laudable achievements since he took over the reins of leadership. Indeed, our administration is committed to partnering with the Nigerian Air Force for a better civil-military relationship and improved security in our state.
“In November last year, I was in this area for the first-year remembrance ceremony of Pa Theophilus Akinyele. I remember stating on that occasion, that more development would be coming to this axis soon. This is part of our efforts to expand the Oyo State economy and turn this area into an aerotropolis.
“What we are about to witness here today – the ground-breaking ceremony for building the permanent site of the Nigerian Airforce base – is part of that overall plan. In fact, to make today possible, the Oyo State Government donated 58.58 hectares of land to develop this new base.
“In addition, we will also provide some support in the infrastructural development of the new Airforce Base. Part of that support is the ongoing reconstruction of the 21km Airport-Ajia-New Ife Express Road with a spur to Amuloko.
“More recently, we also embarked on dualizing the Ibadan-Airport Road and rehabilitating adjourning link roads along the airport axis, with spur roads along the Iwo Road interchange. With all these ongoing developments, when this Airforce Base is completed, it will be within 15 minutes-drive to Ibadan Airport and into the town.”
He explained that part of his overall vision is to engineer a modern Oyo State, appealing to the residents and people of Ajia Community to be accommodating hosts and support the plans to bring rapid development to their area.
“I must state that this new Airforce Base is not just an infrastructural project. It keys into our plans for a robust security architecture for Oyo State. As more businesses move to Oyo and the State takes a more cosmopolitan outlook, the challenges that we will face will increase. With this in mind, we made security one of the four pillars of our Road Map for Accelerated Development of Oyo State, 2019-2023,” the governor said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, thanked Oyo State Government for providing the Nigerian Air Force with the expanse of land to serve as the permanent site for the construction of structures for the 671 Nigerian Air Force Base, Ibadan.
He added that the landmark initiative will consequently provide a befitting environment for the Unit to better perform its security mandate within the State, and also enhance internal security operations in the South-West Region.
He said: “Hitherto, the (Air Force) Detachment had been without a permanent site and personnel of the unit have had to grapple with the challenge of residing in dispersed locations within Ibadan. This situation posed some operational and administrative constraints to the Unit’s disposition.”
He said that it was heart-warming that the Oyo State Government has provided the Nigerian Air Force with the expanse of land to serve as a permanent site for the Air Force Base adding that the development will enhance the Unit’s performance of security mandate within the State.
He stated that besides the establishment of the Air Force Base, the Air Force will also set up a Maintenance and Repairs centre at the Ibadan Airport because of its closeness to the Lagos hub.
“Accordingly, with the establishment of this new Base in Ibadan, the Nigerian Air Force would be able to extend her operational reach to enhance Internal Security operations in the South-West Region.
“Currently, the high density of air traffic operating on a daily basis from Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja inhibits military conduct of air operations in the Region. This new Base will therefore serve as a suitable alternate to Lagos airfield for the Nigerian Air Force to launch air operations in the Region seamlessly and more efficiently,” he added.
The event had in attendance top government functionaries, political office holders, clerics, and traditional rulers.