The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, believes the Boko Haram terrorists have been seriously degraded by the military, in spite of the latest attacks by the insurgents that claimed several lives in some states.
The minister reiterates the commitment of the Federal Government in building capacities of the Nigerian Armed Forces to enable them perform their statutory functions.
He made the remarks during the passing out parade of 99 officers of the Direct Short Service Course (DSSC) 25 at the Nigerian Air Force Base in Kaduna State.
Addressing the newly commissioned officers, Mr Dan-Ali asked them to be prepared to play their part in defending Nigeria’s territorial integrity, as well as protecting the lives and property of the people.
He also challenged them to live above board and display a high level of competence and patriotism for the support service of the Nigerian Air Force.
Injecting Fresh Hands
The Defence Minister noted that the Air Force operates on a philosophy of zero tolerance for misconduct and cowardice, stressing that the authorities would demand nothing short of the very best from them.
He also implored the graduating officers to respect both military and civil authorities, as well as resist the temptation of taking laws into their hands.
Speaking to reporters after the parade, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said the commissioning of the new officers into the service was in line with government’s effort in curbing terrorism by injecting fresh hands into the force.
The DSSC curriculum covers both military and general service subjects, which broadly introduces the cadets to military regimentation, as well as operations and administration of the Nigerian Air Force.
The cadets were drawn from different academic backgrounds such as medicine, engineering, pharmacy, and piloting among other disciplines.
For six months, they were subjected to rigorous physical fitness and weapon training to develop their endurance level, and have also received lectures on counter terrorism operations.
The Pakistani Chief Of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sohail Aman, has pledged to help Nigeria defeat terrorism and insurgency, especially in the north east.
He recommend the use of what he called the three d’s approach: deterrence, dialogue and development.
Air Marshal Aman explained that with the approach, the insurgents must first be relentlessly weakened to a point where they would be compelled to dialogue; a tactic he says Pakistan has employed in nearly two decades of fighting terrorism.
He also said development of the area of operation must be carried out by government authorities to ensure livelihood for the persons who might have been affected in the crisis.
He further added that neglecting this important aspect, negates all other efforts.
According to him, the terrorists tactics change regularly, and so must the strategies used to hunt them down such as real time intelligence, accurate surveillance, quick response and precision strikes.
The Pakistani Airforce Boss, is on an official visit to Nigeria for series of collaboration and exchange on matters of security and defense.
Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Admiral Samuel Alade, has said that the command has taken advantage of the visit, to take a look at the Pakistan experience of over 15 years, in their fight against terrorism and insurgency and find lessons Nigeria might be able to learn.
The Nigerian Airforce (NAF), has increased the number of aircrafts in its fleet with the procurement of four Super Mushak Trainer Aircraft from Pakistan, for the training of student pilots.
Speaking during the induction and handing over of the aircraft in Kaduna, Nigeria’s Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, and his Pakistani counterpart, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, explained that the new platforms would boost the fight against insurgency.
He noted that the latest acquisition of the Super Mushak aircraft would equally impact positively on pilot training efforts of the Nigerian Airforce and also in line with President Muhammdu Buhari’s commitment to equip the service for enhanced professionalism.
The Super Mushshak is a military trainer / light attack aircraft designed and manufactured by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).
It was designed to provide primary flight training to the pilots of the PAF Academy and also could be used for both military and civilian missions.
The symbolic commissioning of the aircraft at the 301 Flying Training School in Kaduna marks the official takeover of the new platforms by the Nigerian Airforce.
Fight Against Terrorism
The Pakistan Chief of Air Staff who handed over the aircraft to his Nigerian counterpart, described the induction of the aircraft as a valuable addition to the capacity building of the Nigerian Airforce and in the fight against terrorism.
According to him, “the existing global security scenario coupled with the changing dynamics of warfare calls for enhanced partnership among nations and their armed forces.
“Certainly, the induction of Super Mushak is a leap forward towards promoting strategic partnership.
“Indeed, both Pakistan and Nigeria are facing similar challenges and our countries are determined to maintain peace, stability and security.
“The armed forces of both countries have played a pivotal role in the war against terror.
Aman went on to compliment the government of Nigeria and its armed forces for resolute commitment and relentless efforts for elimination of the menace of terrorism.
“I am confident that together we can befittingly respond to these challenges. The convergence of our perceptions on different global issues ensures tremendous scope for our two nations for greater understanding and closer cooperation.
“I am proud to share that the armed forces of Pakistan have rendered unparalleled sacrifices and made tremendous contributions to eliminating the scourge of terrorism and restoring peace in the country.
“Our successes have received worldwide acclaim. It is pertinent to mention that in our more than a decade long war against terrorism, Pakistan Air Force has gained unique experiences in the domain of counter terrorism air operations, and we have established an air power of excellence,” Pakistains Airforce boss said.
Mr Abubakar on the other hand, sees the latest acquisition of new trainer aircraft is dawn of a new era.
According to him, “the NAF has made tremendous progress in platform reactivation, training and welfare of personnel.
“In the area of platform reactivation, the NAF has restored 15 airplanes and helicopters to flying status in the last 17 months. Efforts are also at an advanced stage to reactivate 4 additional airplanes that will very soon be serviceable and deployed for operations.
“Similarly, the government has approved the procurement/induction of 4 gunships, four medium airlift/utility helicopters, three light attack aircraft and 10 primary trainers, part of which we are inducting today.
“By the end of the first quarter of 2017, the NAF would have 21 additional new platforms in its inventory.
“We are highly excited of this development because the last time the NAF was given such number of platforms at a time was in the early 80s,” Nigeria’s Air Marshall said.
During the event, a total of 14 new pilots who have completed their training were decorated as flying officers. One after another, the pilots filed out for decoration by some dignitaries who graced the occasion.
The 301 Flying Training School Kaduna is Nigeria’s foremost institution for training pilots in the Nigerian Airforce.
Since its establishment in 1964, it has churned out hundreds of pilots including the current Chief of the Air Staff.
With the acquisition of these latest aircraft and the graduation of a new set of pilots into the Nigerian Air force, it is expected that the nation looks up to them as critical stakeholders in response to the national security imperatives.
The Nigerian Air Force has increased the number of aircraft in its fleet with the latest procurement of four Super Mushak trainer aircraft from Pakistan for the training of student pilots.
At the induction and handing over ceremony of the Aircraft, Nigeria’s Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said the procurement of the modern platforms would boost the service capabilities in the fight against insurgency and other related crimes.
He noted that the latest acquisition of the Super Mushak aircraft would impact positively on pilot training efforts of the Nigerian Air Force and also in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to equipping the service for enhanced professionalism.
The Super Mushak is a military trainer and light attack aircraft designed and manufactured by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).
It was designed to provide primary flight training to the pilots of the PAF Academy and also could be used for both military and civilian missions.
Boost Ongoing War On Terror
The symbolic commissioning of the aircraft at the 301 Flying Training School in Kaduna marks the official takeover of the new platforms by the Nigerian Air Force.
The Pakistan Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, who handed over the aircraft to his Nigerian counterpart, described the induction of the aircraft as a valuable addition to the capacity building of the Nigerian Air Force and in the fight against terrorism.
During the event, a total of 14 new pilots, who have completed their training, were decorated as flying officers.
One after another, the pilots filed out for decoration by some dignitaries who graced the occasion.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence, Danjuma Sheni, who represented the Minister, expressed confidence that the acquisition of the aircraft and the graduation of new pilots into the Nigerian Air Force would boost the ongoing war against terrorism in the northeast and other related crimes in Nigeria.
He, however, urged the Air Force and other sister agencies not to rest on their oars in addressing the rising cases of kidnapping and militancy.
Addressing reporters at the end of the event, Nigeria’s Chief of Air Staff and Pakistan Chief of Air Staff further gave the assurance that regular flow of spare parts, technical and operational support required to keep the aircraft flying were available.
The 301 Flying Training School Kaduna is Nigeria’s foremost institution for training pilots in the Nigerian Air Force.
Since its establishment in 1964, it has churned out hundreds of pilots including the current Chief of the Air Staff.
With the acquisition of the latest aircraft and the graduation of a new set of pilots into the Nigerian Air Force, it is expected that the nation looks up to them as critical stakeholders in response to the national security imperatives.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has stressed the importance of deploying local technology in handling security challenges, including the Boko Haram insurgency in the Nigeria’s northeast.
Speaking at the 2016 Nigerian Air Force Research and Development Seminar holding in Kaduna State, the Air Force boss highlighted that for Nigeria to achieve home-based technological dependence, it must create the enabling environment for research-based collaboration between the military and the civilian institutions.
The Research and Development Seminar is an annual event for personnel of the Nigerian Air Force training institutions to showcase their latest innovations.
This year’s edition has as its theme, “Developing Civil Military Research Programmes Towards Enhanced National Development”.
Promoting Local Content
Against the backdrop that Nigeria relies heavily on imported technologies, the Air Chief said that the Nigerian Air Force was collaborating with some research institutions in the country in the areas of aircraft maintenance and other innovations, emphasising that the effectiveness of the service lies largely in its ability to development its local content.
“Globally, research and development have proved to be the catalyst as well as a major instrument for technology and industrial development.
“However, advanced technology is often the exclusive reserve of the more developed nations and the cost of its importation is usually high with developing countries such as Nigeria.
“Similarly, collaborative efforts between civil and military research and development institutions has often yielded the desired results if pursued deliberately.
“A case in view is the Mahantan project that produced the first nuclear weapon during world war two inb1942 -1945. The project was under the direction of Major General Wesney Crooks of The United states Army.
“On our part, we have also put together a programme that is aimed at enhancing our capacity to be able to produce some of our requirements in collaboration with civil institutions.
“We have entered into collaboration with several institutions such as Universities, private research and development organisations not to produce atomic bombs but to produce what is required to make our aircrafts perfect,” he told the gathering.
The Air Chief further stated that the Air Force was aware of the current administration’s commitment to promoting local content, home grown technology and innovation, as principal views to preserving the nation’s foreign exchange earnings for the developmental needs of our nation.
“In that wise, we are aware that the effectiveness of the Nigerian Air Force in the long time will largely depend on the extent of growth of its home grown technology.
“To this effect, the Nigerian Air Force currently places much emphasis on research and development as a way of building indigenous technological capacity.
“In the quest for technological advancement, we established the Air Force Research and Development Centre where research into aerospace and armament of the service is being conducted.
“Additionally, the Nigerian Air Force has continued to nurture its relationship with selected universities and research institutions,” Air Marshal Abubakar stated.
In his speech, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence, Danjuma Sheni, stressed that the country was endowed with many professionals who are contributing extensively to technology elsewhere in the world, but lament that the lack of local synergy had been primarily responsible for the low level of technological and industrial standing of the country.
“Armed forces all over the world have the traditional role of defending their nations first from external aggression and also maintaining territorial integrity of their respective countries.
“In addition to these crucial roles, armed forces of more advanced nations are renowned for their pioneering effort in revolutionary researches and breakthrough discoveries in various areas. Such landmark progress and discoveries from the military research and development have contributed immensely in making our world a much better place as they impact virtually on every sphere of our lives.
“Today’s event is an indication that the Nigerian Armed Forces are equally aspiring to leave their foot prints on the global stage and is therefore a welcome development.
“The Nigerian Armed Forces have in recent times been very busy in an extremely excellent job of confronting our nation’s current multi-faceted internal security challenges. In a bid to reposition the armed forces to better cope with these challenges, the Federal Government has made the modernisation of equipping and continuous training of the Nigerian Armed Forces a top priority,” he stated.
Before the seminar comes to an end, participants would showcase their innovations in a competition.
It is expected that at the end of the three day event, the Nigerian Air Force will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with some of the research agencies and tertiary institutions in order to provide a pool of competencies.
The Federal Government has fulfilled its promise of reducing the number of aircraft in the presidential fleet as officials released two Agusta Westland helicopters to the Nigerian Air Force.
At the handing over ceremony, the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), reaffirmed the government’s commitment to enhancing the capacity of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
He advised the Air Force to make judicious use of the helicopters in the overall interest of Nigeria’s national security.
Speaking at the event on Monday in Abuja, the Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), applauded the gesture of the Federal Government to support the Nigerian Air Force with the two aircraft.
He expressed optimism that the helicopters would aid the air power of the force to respond to national security threats.
In his remarks, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, pledged the commitment of the force to double its effort in the fight against terror.
He pointed out that the Agusta Westland 101 and 102 helicopters are rugged helicopters used in civil and military applications.
The Air Chief added that aircraft have ballistic defence capabilities and are equipped with defensive aid against some forms of missile attacks.
Nigerian military is not left out in the nation’s search for a solution to the economic recession the oil-rich nation slid into few weeks ago, as the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, is exploring agriculture to empower youths in barracks.
He is confident that further involvement of youths in agriculture will deepen the economic diversification drive of the government.
Economy In Recession
Nigeria is battling to get out of its present economic recession made obvious when the National Bureau of Statistics released a second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report.
The report showed a contract in the GDP by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016.
According to the report, the decline has caused the Naira to get weaker while lower oil prices dragged the oil sector down.
The output shrunk by 0.36 in the first quarter.
During the quarter, nominal GDP was 2.73% higher at 23.48 million Naira at basic prices.
This growth was lower than the rate recorded in the second quarter of 2015 by 2.44% points.
Empowerment Through Agriculture
While launching a scheme tagged ‘Barracks Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture (BYETA)’ held at the Air Force Base in Kaduna State, Air Marshal Abubakar said the initiative would empower youths and create jobs.
The Air Chief was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Nigerian Air Force headquarters, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum.
He explained that the inauguration of the youth empowerment programme was a testimony and determination of the Nigerian Air Force to key into the Federal Government’s policy on diversification of the economy to other non-oil sectors especially agriculture.
Message Of Self-reliance
The programme, according to the organisers, is designed to engage the youths, particularly those living in the barracks in productive ventures such as poultry, fishery and crops farming that would enable them live meaningful lives independent of their parents or guidance.
While urging the youth to make good use of the opportunity to empower themselves and contribute to the economic development of the nation, the representative of the Chief of Air Staff, enjoined parents and guidance to regularly monitor the progress of their wards in order to achieve the maximum success rate of the programme.
On his part, the Commander, 335 Base Service Group, Air Commodore Bello Garba, said the initiative was launched to further drive home the message of self-reliance and the directive given by the Chief of Air Staff for all secondary schools in the barracks to establish a demonstration farm which he also noted would prepare the youth to be self-reliant.
He told the gathering that in compliance with the directive, the 335 Base Service Group had established a BYETA association with an initial membership of 25 youths at its inception on August 30.
At the moment it has 98 registered members, including 35 engaged in fish farming, 25 in poultry, 26 in livestock and 12 in crop farming.
Some of the beneficiaries said they were pleased with the initiative they believe would empower them, help them feed Nigerians and ensure food security.
The Barrack Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture Programme is open to relatives of Air Force personnel and residents of host communities.
The Nigerian Air Force in collaboration with the Benue State government has inaugurated the “Barrack Youths Agricultural Empowerment Programme”.
The programme is aimed at helping officers cope with home front demands from their dependents.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, launched the initiative for over 3,000 beneficiaries across Nigeria on Wednesday at the NAF Base Makurdi, Benue State’s capital.
On his arrival at the Officers Mess of the barracks, he was welcomed by one of the benefiting youth with a basket full with fruits and food items, as a symbol to highlight the inauguration.
Air Marshal Abubakar expressed hope that officers engaged in counter-terrorism would now focus on the task at hand, knowing that their families were comfortable.
He stated that any youth living within the NAF barracks qualified for the programme, but must be members of an agricultural cooperative group, emphasising that membership was needed to enable them access funds from banks listed under the programme.
The Air Chief enjoined the beneficiaries to help support officers in the fulfillment of their duties, by engaging in productive activities like agriculture as he gave an insight into the operations of the programme.
The Benue State government also showed its support for the agricultural revolution growth in the state also known as the “food basket” of the nation..
The Commissioner for Agriculture, James Anbua, said a total of 3,750 hectres of land had been earmarked for the youths to practice agriculture.
Besides the inauguration of the empowerment programme, Air Marshal Abubakar also commissioned the new Air War College located within the Base.
Other projects commissioned include a gymnasium fully facilitated for recreational activities and a hostel accommodation for fighter jets pilots at the college.
The Nigerian Army has carried out a clearance operation on remnants of Boko Haram terrorists in Yobe State, Northeast Nigeria.
A statement by the Army spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman, disclosed that the feat was made by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole in the early hours of Wednesday.
The operation followed activities of the terrorists around Jororo and Tombaeji villages in Geidam Local Government Area of Yobe State.
The fighting patrol team came into contact with some Boko Haram terrorists around Gajire village, during which there was a firefight that lasted for about 15 minutes.
“The gallant troops overpowered the terrorists and killed four of them and captured one alive.
“The victorious troops also recovered two General Purpose Machine Guns (GMPG), two AK-47 Rifles and 144 rounds of 7.62mm (Special) ammunition from the terrorists.
“In addition, they also recovered two KASEA branded motorcycles,” the statement said.
Colonel Usman noted that the troops have continued to patrol the general area in search of possible remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists that might be hibernating in the area.
“The ever vigilant troops of Operation Lafiya Dole have continued their routine operations maintaining vigilance, to prevent further actions by the Boko Haram terrorists in their respective areas of operations,” he said.
Not less than 30 Boko Haram members have been reported killed in a clash with troops in a village near Lake Chad and the Nigerian border.
The incident, which was said to have occurred on Monday also resulted in the death of five soldiers from the republic of Niger.
The fighting reportedly started after the army fell into an ambush, leaving six soldiers injured, with two of the militants captured.
Residents say the insurgents were trying to prevent people from praying during the Islamic festival of Eid-el-Kabir.
A military operation by the Multi-National Task Force involving Nigeria, Chad, the Republic of Niger and Cameroon has been fighting the militants in the Lake Chad area where they plan to establish a base.
The Nigeria Police Force and the Department of State Services had issued an alert, warning that members of the Boko Haram terrorist group were planning attacks on places of worship during the Eid celebration.
During the festive period, the Chief of Air Staff in Nigeria, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, visited troops in Nigeria’s northeast and urged them to sustain the tempo of the fight against the insurgents that have terrorised communities in the region in the last six years.
He was optimistic that a sustained tempo would reduce the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists in the region that has seen relative peace in the last few months, due to heightened counter-terrorism operations.
Officials of the Nigerian Air Force involved in the fight against insurgency in the northeast have been asked to sustain the fight in order to reduce the activities of the insurgents to the barest minimum.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, James Gbum, made the demand in Maiduguri and Yola while observing the Sallah holiday with the troops.
He told the troops that the Federal Government was backing them with the provision of modern equipment of warfare and improved welfare services.
The Air Officer Commanding, Tactical Air Command, Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Mohammed, acknowledged the visit as a morale booster to the troops.
He reassured the Federal Government and the Chief of Air Staff of their unflinching loyalty and commitment to continuously tackling the insurgents and other criminals.
Boko Haram activities in the last six years have left several communities in the northeast devastate, with over two million persons displaced.
Heightened counter-terrorism operations in the region had sacked the terrorists from communities they had occupied, restoring relative peace.
In the heat of insurgency, the terrorists had taken over 200 girls hostage, an act that triggered worldwide protest for the release or rescue of the girls, with a #BringBackOurGirls slogan.
The girls were abducted from their school’s dormitory in Chibok, Borno State over two years ago.
Recently, the terrorist group released a video showing some of the abducted girls and said that some of them had been killed in air raids by the Nigerian Air Force at Sambisa Forest, a haven for terrorists in Borno State.
The Nigerian Air Force says it is fully prepared to respond to possible terror attacks across Nigeria’s airports, just as it assured air passengers of their safety at all times.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, expressed the readiness of the force while addressing naval officials after a simulation exercise at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The simulation appeared like a real life situation, showcasing the Nigerian Air Force’s combat readiness to counter terrorism at the airport.
It began with troops taking vantage position at the airport while others are deployed into the terminal building of the airport to arrest the terrorists.
Under the command of the regiment commander, the troops stormed the airport to arrest some suspected terrorists.
With the arrest of the terrorists which brought the mission to an end, the Chief of Air Staff gave his observation on the exercise.
“I am very happy that we have been able to test the plans we have for this airport and whatever gaps there are, we will be able to quickly go back and debrief and see where there are areas of difficulties,” he said.
The Air Chief reaffirmed that there was no threat of terrorist attack on any airport in Nigeria.
“We are not anticipating anything. Like I said, this is just an exercise. It is very important that you evaluate your plan from time to time. If not you might have some gaps in what you have put together. If you have to wait till there is anticipation, then it might just be too late,” Air Marshal Abubakar stressed.
He further explained that the simulation exercise was aimed at testing the combat readiness of the troops to counter terrorism and would be replicated across the country.
Air Marshal Abubakar noted that the air staff were fully equipped to counter terrorists attacks on any airport within Nigeria.
He appealed to law abiding Nigerians to go about their lawful activities, saying that the Air Force remained committed to supporting other security agencies in reducing the activities of insurgents and militants in Nigeria.