Barely two weeks after his promotion to a new rank, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Iboro Harry Etukudo, the lone Akwa Ibom-born two-star general presently in the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), has been appointed the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Mobility Command of the NAF.
He formally took over the command on Thursday during a brief ceremony at its headquarters in Yenagoa.
Though headquartered in the Bayelsa State capital, the Area of Responsibility (AoR) of the Mobility Command covers nine units and bases in Lagos, Ibadan, Calabar, Minna, Sokoto, Ilorin, Warri and Yenagoa.
The command performs tactical and strategic airlift in support of government and military operations.
Etukudo’s appointment was contained in a press statement on Tuesday by the Director of Public Relations and Information of the NAF, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, who said “the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, has approved the appointment of new Branch Chiefs, Air Officers Commanding (AOCs), Commandants of tri-service and NAF institutions as well as Unit Commanders.”
According to him, “postings and redeployments in the military are routine exercises intended to reinvigorate the services for greater performance, enhanced productivity, operational efficiency and effective service delivery.”
The shakeup also involved a one-star general from the state, Air Commodore Esen Efanga, who was redeployed from NAF Headquarters, Abuja, where he was Director of Training, to Maiduguri as Commander of Air Task Force of Operation Hadin Kai, the Joint Task Force battling insurgency in the North East of Nigeria.
With his appointment, Etukudo becomes the second Akwa Ibom indigene to command the Mobility Command after AVM Francis Bassey Nyoyoko, from Adiasim Ikot Essien Ndot in Essien Udim Local Government Area (LGA), who was AOC there from January 2015 to February 2016 when he retired.
Akwa Ibom was fortunate particularly between 2015 and 2016 when two officers from the state simultaneously commanded two of the Air Force’s six commands.
The second officer from the state was AVM Uko Etim Ebong, from Nung Ukot Itam in Itu LGA, who was AOC Logistics Command, Ikeja, from April to August 2015.
The last time an Akwa Ibom indigene commanded an Air Force command was between 2017 and 2019 when AVM Sampson Okon Akpasa, from Nkwot Etok in Ini LGA., served successively as the pioneer AOC Ground Training Command, Enugu, and later as the AOC Special Operations Command, Bauchi.
He retired from service in April 2019 after serving for four months at Defence Headquarters, Abuja, as Chief of Transformation and Innovation, his last posting.
A command in the Air Force and Navy is the equivalent of a division in the Army.
A division consists of brigades while a brigade, in turn, consists of battalions.
The six Air Force’s commands with their headquarters are Tactical Air Command (Makurdi, Benue State), Air Training Command (Kaduna, Kaduna State), Logistics Air Command (Ikeja, Lagos State), Mobility Command (Yenagoa, Bayelsa State), Ground Training Command (Enugu, Enugu State) and Special Operations Command (Bauchi, Bauchi State).
The five commands in the Navy with their headquarters are Western Naval Command (Apapa, Lagos State), Eastern Naval Command (Calabar, Cross River State), Naval Training Command (Apapa, Lagos State), Logistics Command (Oghara, Delta State) and Central Naval Command (Yenagoa, Bayelsa State).
The eight divisions in the Army with their headquarters are 1 Division (Kaduna, Kaduna State), 2 Division (Ibadan, Oyo State), 3 Division (Jos, Plateau State), 82 Division (Enugu, Enugu State), 81 Division (Victoria Island, Lagos State), 6 Division (Port Harcourt, Rivers State), 7 Division (Maiduguri, Borno State) and 8 Division (Sokoto, Sokoto State).
A two-star general from Akwa Ibom, Major General Uwem Udo Bassey, is presently the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division.
There is no Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) any of the naval commands, from the state, presently.
Credit: Inemesit Ina