The Nigerian Airforce is set to take delivery of additional fighter jets including a new multi-role fighter aircraft, the ‘3 JF-17 fighter’, and eight other Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) from the Peoples Republic of China.
The Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar disclosed this on Tuesday during an operational visit in Makurdi, Benue State capital to assess the ongoing reactivation work on the F-7 Aircraft.
He explained that nine fighter jets are also being reactivated in order to sustain the onslaught against insurgents.
Also in a series of Tweets, Director of Public Relations and Information Headquarters Nigerian Air Force Nigeria, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said Nigeria has joined China and UAE as the only countries operating the WingLoong II Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle.
Nigeria has joined China & UAE as the only countries operating the WingLoong II Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle. The 2 x @NigAirForce WingLoong II, which can remain airborne for 31hrs in ISR mode & 26hrs in offensive role, will add significant value to COIN & anti-banditry Ops /1 pic.twitter.com/rPuYBzWcTD
He adds that “in the last five years, 22 brand new aircraft have been acquired and 19 more are expected before mid-2021. Six other UCAVs are also expected by early 2021.”
Air Commodore Daramola adds that “200 NAF pilots, engineers, and technicians are undergoing training in nine different countries as part of efforts to bridge decades of gaps in capability and capacity that have made Nigeria vulnerable to asymmetrical threats.
The additional new air assets and skills acquired by personnel are aimed to enhance Nigeria Air Force’s operational effectiveness.
The Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has destroyed additional terrorists’ structures and killed some Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters at Bakassi on the fringes of Lake Chad in Borno State in an air strike conducted yesterday, 6 July 2019.
The attack according to the Airforce spokesperson, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, was executed as a follow-up to air raids conducted at the same location on 28 June 2019, after intelligence reports indicated the ISWAP elements, having suffered heavy casualties during the attack, had relocated surviving fighters and logistics supplies to another part of the settlement, as confirmed by Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
The ATF, therefore, dispatched 2 Alpha Jets to attack the location, with accurate hits on the identified structures, which were seen engulfed in flames. Several terrorists were also killed as a result of the strike.
A short video clip which the force has now declassified shows parts of the attack.
Air Commodore Daramola in his statement assured that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), operating in concert with “surface forces”, will sustain the effort to completely degrade the terrorists in the Northeast.
The Nigeria Air Force (NAF), on Friday, graduated a total of 1,498 recruits of its Basic Military Training Course, with a warning to them to be vigilant and committed to their constitutional responsibilities of safe-guarding the nation.
During their passing out parade held at the Ground Training Centre, NAF base Kaduna, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, told the new recruits to be prepared to pay the supreme price in defending their fatherland, especially at a time when the country is facing several security challenges.
Their journey began in July 2016, with 1,563 candidates, while 49 were withdrawn and four absconded.
Also among the graduates were 331 operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
As part of the effort to prepare the young airmen and airwomen for the task ahead, and in pursuance of the service’s mission-oriented force development, the curriculum for their course was reviewed with the introduction of internal security module.
Awards were given to recruits who distinguished themselves in the cause of the training
Addressing them, Air Marshal Abubakar, warned that the Nigerian Armed Forces, have zero tolerance for weakness and any conduct that is inconsistent with service discipline.
He reminded them to imbibe the culture of discipline, absolute loyalty to both civil and military authorities, and to avoid being used by any disgruntled elements in the society.
The Air Force boss, also announced that his administration places a high priority on welfare and capacity building of officers and men of the service.
The induction of the young men and women into the military, is not doubt coming at a time the nation is in dire need of additional manpower for her military needs.
Therefore, as they join their colleagues in the field, it is expected that they sticjk by the oath they took to protect all law abiding citizens and visitors from both internal and external aggression.
Three communities in Adamawa state, have been thrown into mourning following an attack by herdsmen which has led to the death of three policemen, scores of villagers and the abduction of one person.
At Kwayine village, some of the residents were seen burying the dead in the early hours of Sunday.
The attack, coming after various alerts by the Adamawa community of fears about a likely attack, has left on its trail, damaged houses and abandoned police vehicles.
Residents have however called on the authorities to provide better security to prevent further attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
The incident is coming a few days after the Nigerian Airforce commenced aerial surveillance of forests and communities located in the southern part of Kaduna state, as well as other insurgent-laden states, to fish out suspected armed herdsmen that have been attacking the villages from their hideouts.
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 graduated 77 officers trained in counter-terrorism intelligence gathering to combat the twin insecurity concerns of the Niger Delta Avengers blowing up crude oil pipe lines and the Boko Haram insurgency.
While addressing the graduating officers, the Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Air Force of Air Intelligence, Makurdi, the capital of Benue State, Group Captain Raymond Nwankwo, implore them to make their training count in all counter-terrorism operations.
While the Director of Airforce Intelligence speaks on the overall importance of intelligence in any military operation, the Chairman, School of Management and Security, Mr Ona Ekhomu, commended the officers for their sacrifice and commitment to their father land.
The Commandant, Nigerian Air Force School of Intelligence and the Guest of Honour and Director of Air Force Intelligence, Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Usman, said the success of counter offensive against the Niger Delta Avengers and Boko Haram now rested on graduating officer’s shoulders.
The military, particularly the Nigerian Air Force, is stepping up its effort on military air capabilities, intelligence gathering and precision in the execution of counter-terrorism operations to avoid civilian casualties in the process.
The Nigerian Air Force has reaffirmed its commitment to stopping all forms of criminal activities in the country including economic saboteurs from the Niger Delta region.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, made the pledge in Yola the Adamawa state capital on Saturday.
He said the Air Force was already deploying troops and additional platforms to the Niger Delta area to contain the recent uprising from the area.
Air Marshal Abubakar assured Nigerians that the Air Force, in collaboration with other security agencies, would continue to sustain the tempo of its operations in the war against insurgency.
The fight against insurgency is yet to be over and it is for this reason that the Chief of the Air Staff commissioned some projects in Yola and Maiduguri aimed at ameliorating the hardships encountered by personnel and their families.
The Air Force boss called on Nigerians to provide useful information to security agencies at all times.
Meanwhile, the Adamawa State Governor commended the appointment of the current Service Chiefs by President Buhari while the Senate Majority leader pledged support of the National Assembly to the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The projects commissioned in Yola and Maiduguri include 205 wing building/pilots crew room, one bedroom accommodation for corporals and below and a new apron that will aid the activities of pilots.
The Nigerian Army and Air Force say they are strategising towards executing the President’s directive of relocating the Army Command Centre to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
In an interview with journalists in Maiduguri, the Chief of Army Staff, Kenneth Minimah said that its necessary for the Army to have a superior pressure from the troops and command center.
He said that the Military Command Centre was at Maiduguri earlier to do a recollection of the existing structures and the movement has started already with the superior officers of the Army and the Air Force.
The Chief of Army Staff also added that the job of the General Officer Commanding in Maiduguri is still intact and he will work closely to ensure the battle is won.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Air Staff, AVM Adesola Amosun, said he and his men have always visited the troops to check their moral and welfare, adding that there are some administrative issues that need to be sorted out to ensure that the President’s directive is fully carried out.
The aircraft was released to the French Government on Monday.
Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Molusola Amosu, who authorized the release noted that even though the French Government had a block clearance for the year, it did not have the clearance to operate that category of flight in the country.
He, however, added that after thorough investigation, the aircraft was not found wanting in anyway.
He noted that the diversion was in line with standard practices world over.
On his part, the French Defence attaché explained that the aircraft was carrying helicopters and Christmas presents for its soldiers stationed in the Chadian capital.
Some youths in Plateau State, Nigeria’s north-central region have asked the Federal Government and security agencies to redouble their efforts in fighting insurgency, as youths are the most vulnerable group to the attacks.
Speaking on behalf of Youth Network for Peace and Good Governance in Jos, Mr. Aondoma Tor, appealed to security agents to also speed up the rescue mission of abducted students of Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State as the nation awaits positive result from the operation.
“We salute the actions of the little school girls in Chibok community, whom despite the carnage in Borno State, insisted on going to school to write their WAEC before they were abducted.
“The Federal Government must put together all resources within its power to ensure the safe release of the abducted school girls in Chibok.
“We call on the youths to provide support through information sharing and gathering for security personnel who try as much as they can to avoid further terror”, he said.
He also decried the state of unemployment in the country, which has left many graduates unable to afford a living. He noted that this situation makes it easy for the youths to become tools in the hands of politicians who intend to cause havoc.
He stated, “It is imperative that while the youths provide their own support and intelligence, the Federal Government must provide job opportunities to ensure that these youths are not distracted but rather are focused on empowering themselves and developing the community.”
Precisely one year after he died in a helicopter crash in Okoroba, Bayelsa state on December 15, 2012, indigenes of southern Kaduna where the late governor of the state, Patrick Yakowa came from, have expressed sadness that the Nigerian Airforce and Aviation authorities are yet to disclose to the public the cause of the crash which also took the life of the former national security adviser, Andrew Azazi.
At a memorial lecture and thanksgiving service held in Kaduna on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of Yakowa’s death, his kinsmen demanded that the Federal Government should make its findings known to Nigerians concerning the cause of the helicopter crash that took the life of the late governor and others .
President of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), Mr Ephraim Goje told Channels Television during the memorial church service that they were disappointed with the Federal Government for failing in its responsibilities of protecting the lives of the citizens.
The ceremony which took place at the Umaru Yar’adua Hall was attended by family members, friends and prominent Nigerians including Vice President Namadi Sambo, the PDP National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, state governors, ministers, traditional and religious leaders.
Sambo and Tukur in their separate tributes emphasised the need for a peaceful co-existence among the various religions and tribes in the country, as there cannot be any meaningful development in an atmosphere of rancour. They described the late Yakowa as a bridge builder who built bridges across all divides and offered selfless and patriotic service to Kaduna state and the nation at large.
Also paying glowing tribute to his late boss, the Kaduna state governor, Mukhtar Yero maintained that Yakowa was a man of peace and the people, an apostle of peace, assuring that the best way to immortalise him is by sustaining his virtues.
On his part, Governor Isah Yuguda of Bauchi state said that most of the religious crises in the northern part of the country were politically motivated, questioning why there were no such incidents in the south western part of the country which also had majority of Muslims and Christians.
Yakowa’s widow, Amina said the outpouring of emotions by dignitaries at the occasion showed that her late husband lived a life worth remembering, noting that the family had accepted the loss as part of God’s purpose which mortals might not always understand.
Earlier, the guest lecturer at the occasion, Dr. Abdullahi Aliyu in his paper entitled “Challenges of Responsible leadership in Nigeria” said that “a true leader must understand that leadership is a privilege and not a right”, and as such should treat his/her office with every sense of responsibility, commitment and gratitude. He maintained that Yakowa was a leader, a gentleman, a builder of peace and a developer of bridges for reconciliation and forgiveness.
He said that some leaders were never prepared enough to leave office because of the uncertainties outside; and identified corruption, bad followership, lack of orientation of the followers, and systemic government failures as some of the challenges facing leadership in Nigeria.
At the thanksgiving service held at Saint John’s Catholic Church, Kaduna, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Kukah, while extolling the good qualities of the late Yakowa called on Nigerians to elect leaders based on merit and not on religious and ethnic sentiments.
Others however insisted that the authorities should make the probe into the helicopter crash public.