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We have degraded Boko Haram – Airforce chief

The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on Monday stated that the Boko Haram insurgency have been degraded in the country.

The CAS who stated this at the opening ceremony of the African Partnership Flight 2017 held at the Nigerian Air Force Logistics Command in Lagos; maintained that although there are still packets of attacks from the insurgents, there is, however, an improvement from what used to be.

Speaking on the improvement so far, Air Marshal Abubakar said, “It is obvious that looking at where we are coming from in the last three years or thereabout I think we have substantially degraded the capacity of Boko Haram as an organised fight force. There might be packets of them here and there that we are still fighting on a daily basis; but for now, I can tell you that substantially we have degraded Boko haram and there is no doubt about that.”

While speaking on the essence of the week long training programme which is organised by the United State Air Forces Africa in conjunction with the Nigerian Air force, the CAS noted that the whole idea behind the training is to identify where there are gaps in terms of what they have on ground and also develop where there is need for such.

At the event tagged Aeromedical Evacuation and Medical Development where Air Officers drawn from Chad, Niger, Benin Republic, Nigeria and US are to participate, Air Marshal Abubakar said, “The African partnership flight is a multi-lateral military engagement designed to enhance African regional co-operation, increase inter-mobility and build capacity in the aviation sector. Globally, the concept of regional forces has gained recognition as the best approach towards solving common security issues since the most prevalent form of warfare in our contemporary times is asymmetric in nature and often transcends international borders.

“It is therefore important that nations pull their resources together to ensure synergy in their operations. This is for the common goal of stamping out Boko Haram in the North-East of Nigeria. The Nigerian Air Force which is one of the instruments of National power is not unmindful of the occasional need for the Service to participate in both joint and combined operations. The service is also unmindful of the effects and aftermath of insurgence with particular reference to the plight of innocent civilians including women and children who often are the unintended victims.

“Therefore, 2017 African partnership flight which is themed Aeromedical Evacuation and Medical Development could not have been more appropriate considering the great need for proper medical care, in and outside the theaters of operation. Accordingly the Air Force of the US Air Force command in Europe in bringing together countries of the region to stimulate a combined security humanitarian environment is highly commendable and appreciated. We believe that the combine training exercise will definitely enhance the mutual relationship and Inter-reliability among the participating countries. The initiative therefore is an effort in the right direction and a good step in our collective drive to ensure the security of our countries and indeed our continent. “

“We are all aware that the current Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria has resulted in over 2 million internally displaced persons who are in dare need of one basic need or the other. It is for this reason that the Nigerian Air Force has embarked in so many humanitarian programs aimed at alleviating the plights of the IDPs.”

On his part, the Director Plans, Programs and Analyses for the US Air Forces Africa, Brigadier General Dieter Bareihs emphasized on the need to build lasting relationships during the course of the training.

He said, “The Air force is a service of innovation, we strive to always improve and to be better in whatever we do, looking at new ways to do old thing or new ways to do new things. We strive to improve and that is what this African Partnership flight event is all about. I encourage participant to take advantage of all the talents that is here in this event. This is a fabulous opportunity to all of us to strengthen the relationship among our Air Forces, increase aviation capacity and capability, to work on regional co-operation.

“To have the capability is important to all of our Air Force, whether it is to respond to Boko Haram, or low intensity conflicts or to use the capability for peace keeping operation, or to respond to humanitarian assistance to disaster relief, it is critical. There will be discussions and sharing of experiences. There will be a lot of information but what you will remember is the people, the relationship you build. Those relationships will pay dividends later in your career,” he advised.

The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, who was the Guest of Honour at the event as represented by the Commissioner for Special Duties and Inter-Governmental affairs, Mr. Seye Oladejo noted that the event was an indication that the Nigerian Air Force is committed to regional peace and stability through joint training.

Senior officers from the Nigerian Army, The Nigerian Navy National Emergency Management Agency amongst others were also represented at the event.

Joy Anyim

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