Obaseki meets Chief of Air Staff, seeks collaboration on air surveillance against banditry, kidnapping, others
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Obaseki meets Chief of Air Staff, seeks collaboration on air surveillance against banditry, kidnapping, others

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Monday, harped on the need for increased collaboration between the government and the Nigerian Air Force to enhance security across Edo communities and protect residents.

The governor made the call when he received the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, who was on a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin City.

Obaseki, who called for the support of the military to rid Edo forests of kidnappers and other criminal elements, urged for increased air surveillance to nip all criminal activities, including banditry, kidnapping and illegal wood logging, among others in the bud.

According to him, “Edo enjoys a special relationship with the Air Force. It's unfortunate that because of restructuring, after the civil war, your presence had to be reduced. We really want you to do as much as you can to expand your services here.

"With your little operational service here, we know what we have benefitted and enjoyed from the Command here, particularly what they did for us during the #EndSARS protest. They did a lot of patrols and support. So, if we have our way, we will like to have more of your presence in our communities.

“I think it's a thing to consider, given the security situation of the country. You know Edo is a hub and it's easy to reach; some of the incidents like banditry and other criminal activities, we believe from our location here, can stop their movement and dispersal across the country.”

He continued: “That is why we will be pleading and even before you have a much more extensive operation here, whatever you can do for us in terms of air surveillance will really be appreciated. As we speak, one of the biggest challenges we have is our forest and ungoverned spaces.

"From the waterways, people are going into the forest logging illegally, arming themselves and coming to set up businesses in our forests. We have worked with the army in some operations to curtail the activities of some armed men who disguise themselves as herdsmen in some of the locations in Edo. I will appreciate it if you join in such an operation to give us cover.”

“On our part, we see the Air Force as part of our community and we want to do more with you,” he urged.

Reassuring the Air Force of government’s support, Obaseki noted, “We know you have a few schools. We will like to collaborate with you in supporting your primary schools, particularly the basics. In the area of medicals too, we will like to see how we can cooperate with your medical services to be part of our Edo Health Improvement (EdoHIP) programme, which we are integrating currently.”

The governor further said: “We are aware of the encroachment into your land. I have been talking with the Inspector General of Police and we now have a special team; we are appealing to you to provide support for that team. Some of these lawless individuals in these communities are so armed; they go in and grab other people's land.

"But we, as a state, are currently dealing with it now. We now have a special court for land grabbers; we've placed a law to protect private properties. We want to secure your land and will issue you your C-of-O as soon as I get your documents to the land at no cost."

Earlier, Amao commended the governor's commitment to security and education, particularly the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST). 


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