Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Alex Barde yesterday disclosed that the Nigerian Air force will today commence the deployment of Nigeria war planes to check the activities of Islamist fighters in Mali.
Barde who stated this in Enugu when he paid his maiden visit to Enugu Airforce Unit, added that the action was in compliance with President Goodluck Jonathan's directive that a military contingent be sent to assist the country of Mali to contain the jihadists liked to terror group, Al Qaeda.
He said: "As I speak to you now," he said, "our air planes have arrived in Port-Harcourt. In fact, I'm on my way to Rivers State now and tomorrow morning we are beginning our deployment to Mali and that's what I am going to witness.
"I am going there to bid them a sort of farewell and go-and-fight-well greetings as they depart.
"We expect them to do what Mr. President directed that we do; he has directed that we should go and assist Mali in repelling the jihad fighters there because you know that if they finish with Mali the next thing will be to come to Nigeria.
"So we are going there to fight them and also protect our borders.
He explained that his maiden visit to Enugu unit was to talk to them on his vision for the Nigeria Air Force.
According to him, "We must use innovative technology because we have spent so much money buying equipment and each time they are bad we have to send them to the manufacturers for repairs. We have the know how, we have the personnel; we have professionals in the Airforce and we cannot too continue buying and not repairing."