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NAF laments high cost of aviation fuel, seeks Reps’ permission to import



The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, on Wednesday, decried the high costs of fuel prices as well as the introduction of surcharges.

According to him, the cost of Jet A-1 was about N1,200 per litre as against the N360 per litre the service budgeted for, adding that this is one of the issues affecting the effectiveness of the service.

Jet A-1 is a kerosene-type fuel compatible with most jet aircraft, both civil and military, helicopter turbine engines, turboprops and compression-ignition piston engines.

Abubakar spoke during the visit by members of the House of Representative Committee on Air Force, led by the Chairman, Kabiru Alhassan Rurum, to the NAF Headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday.

A statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, AVM. Edward Gabkwet, quoted Abubakar as pleading with the National Assembly to permit the Air Force to import Jet A-1 fuel to sustain ongoing air operations.

The statement read in part: “The CAS also used the opportunity of the visit to reel out some pressing challenges militating against NAF’s effectiveness, one of which is the astronomic rise in fuel prices and the introduction of surcharges.

“Currently, the situation is worsening, as the cost of Jet A-1 fluctuates at almost #1,200 per litre as against the budgeted #360 per litre. We are soliciting that the NAF be permitted to independently commence the importation of Jet A-1 fuel to sustain our ongoing air operations.”

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The Air Chief also requested the establishment of air operations command and control infrastructure among others.

“Other challenges enumerated by the CAS include the need to enhance NAF’s tactical airlift capability to support both land and maritime forces in various theatres of operations as well as disaster relief efforts in remote areas, the need for an air operations command and control infrastructure as well as the need for an enhanced Air Defence and Airspace Surveillance capabilities, among others,” the statement added.

Abubakar, however, expressed concern with the spate of abductions in the country lately, blaming the increasing rate of crimes across the country on the lack of jobs and the high cost of living in the country.

He said: “While terrorists’ activities in the Northeast and Northwest Nigeria have declined, we have in recent times witnessed an escalation in the rate and frequency of kidnappings and hostage-taking by these same criminals in the region. The recent coordinated spade of kidnappings of over 200 school children in Kaduna, 15 students in Sokoto and several others in Borno States are clear pointers to this fact.

“In the southeast and south-south region, the threats posed by secessionists and oil thieves, though on the decline, have also been a source of concern. These situations have been exacerbated as more Nigerians slip into poverty, occasioned by lack of jobs amid high cost of living, causing some to turn to crime.”

The CAS, however, noted that despite these challenges, the NAF has continued to embark on a wide range of intensive air operations, including Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance, Air Interdiction and Armed Reconnaissance across operational theatres in the country, with varying degrees of success.





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