Molly kilete, Abuja
The Chief of the Air Staff(CAS), Air Marshall Oladayo Amao, Tuesday declared open a three day Combined-Specialties Conference/Retreat, to address the incessant cases of terrorists attacks, banditry, kidnapping, secessionist and other violent crimes ravaging the country.
The conference with theme “Harnessing NAF AirPower Capabilities for Effective Joint Operations”, is being attended by all NAF operation commanders across the country, Air Officers Commanding, Branch Chiefs, top army and navy officers as well as military attachee from the United States Embassy a,one other security experts,
In his address at the occasion, Amao, said the retreat was aimed at appraising the NAF’s current state of effectiveness and efficiency in contributing to the enhancement of National security in dealing with current and emerging security challenges facing the country, adding that the Retreat would provide an avenue for the NAF to analyze its activities, achievements and challenges with a view to evolving strategies to overcome the challenges and charting a way forward and take the Service to greater heights.
He said the NAF, would continue to work with other security agencies, towards achieving the mandate of ensuring a safe, secured, united and prosperous Nigeria.
“The Combined-Specialties Conference/Retreat is aimed at appraising the Nigerian Air Force’s current state of effectiveness and efficiency in contributing to the enhancement of National security as well as in dealing with current and emerging security challenges facing our dear Nation.
“The Retreat will provide an avenue for us to critically analyse our activities, achievements and challenges with a view to evolving strategies to overcome the challenges and charting a way forward in order to take the Service to greater heights.
“As you are all aware, any entity that aims to excel in its endeavours must take out time, once in a while, to conduct critical self-appraisal. Accordingly, this event is expected to feature robust, no-holes barred conversations, which I expect will go a long way in re-positioning the Nigerian Air Force for more effective service delivery, especially in the areas of Operations, Logistics as well as Aircraft and Armament Engineering.
Speaking on his vision for the NAF, Amao said Ladies “when I took over the helm of affairs of the Nigerian Air Force, I encapsulated my Vision, which is “to enhance and sustain critical airpower capabilities required for joint force employment in pursuit of national security imperatives”. This Vision, as may be obvious, is all about the employment of Nigerian Air Force assets in joint operations framework. This is premised on the fact that, as realized by Armed Forces the world over, there is seldom an operating environment where one Service would operate alone. Indeed, since the First World War, most major campaigns, whether conventional or sub-conventional, have involved 2 or more Services. This has also been the case for virtually every engagement the Nigerian Air Force has been involved in since the Civil War, whether at home or abroad, and is even more crucial within the context of the current asymmetric threat environment in the Country today. Consequently, we must ensure we are able to improve our synergy in joint operations, if we intend to achieve desired results.
Continuing, the CAS, said “While we may have undoubtedly achieved appreciable results in various Theatres of Operation, including the North East, North West and North Central, I believe a lot more still needs to be done to ensure the secured environment required by the Nigerian people. Meanwhile, as you are equally aware, we are faced with several militating challenges; such as insufficient number of air assets, vast area of coverage in the various Theatres as well as inadequate funding. We are however also cognizant of the fact that no Nation or organization can get all that it requires per time, even among the developed Nations. Therefore, the onus is on us to work through these challenges and adopt the best operational strategies to achieve the desired results, within limited available resources, while continuously pushing for more. We must also look for areas of synergy with sister Services and other security agencies, whilst leveraging one another’s capabilities to secure our Nation.
“I would be stating the obvious by saying that a huge burden of responsibility has been placed on the Armed Forces of Nigeria, in general, and the Nigerian Air Force, in particular, by the Nigerian people to ensure their security and safety. We cannot afford to let them down. We must therefore use this period of introspection to evolve strategies to improve our operations as well as enhance our logistics support systems and maintenance practices to ensure the serviceability of our air assets for optimal employment of airpower capabilities in joint operations.
“I am particularly delighted to note that we have taken delivery of the 3 JF-17 Thunder Multi-Role attack aircraft acquired from Pakistan, which are currently being assembled in Makurdi. We will also soon receive the 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft and several Unmanned Aerial Vehicles acquired by the Federal Government for the Service. These aircraft would add considerable impetus to our operations in dealing with terrorists, armed bandits and other criminal elements plaguing our Nation. I wish to therefore place on record our sincere appreciation to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his continued support in providing for the operational, training and welfare need of the Service. I pledge that we, as a Service, will continue to work wholeheartedly, in concert with other security agencies, towards achieving the mandate of ensuring a safe, secured, united and prosperous Nation”.