Molly Kilete, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, has charged the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), to consolidate on the gains of its air power to sustain the peace and stability it has attained in the fight against insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities in the country.
The president has also charged the NAF to redouble its efforts towards protecting the nation’s national interests, while at the same time degrading national security threats.
Buhari gave the charge at this year NAF Day celebrations held to mark the 55, years of the service in Abuja.
Represented by Vice President Yemi Osibajo, Buhari commended the NAF, which he said had been fulfilling its constitutional mandate of preserving Nigeria’s territorial integrity through the employment and projection of air power.
Aside the role of preserving the territorial integrity, the president also said the force had played vital roles in peace-keeping operations on the African continent.
Speaking on the war against terrorism, the president said: “As a country, we are particularly proud that in less than 4 years, we have been able to revitalise our armed forces for the full restoration of Nigeria’s territorial integrity that was once violated by Boko Haram insurgents. As the air arm of the armed forces, the Nigerian Air Force has continued to play very crucial roles in degrading the fighting capabilities of the Boko Haram Terrorists in North East where our officers, airmen, soldiers and ratings have performed gallantly.
“As you may recall in my inaugural speech as president, I promised to put an end to Boko Haram insurgency which hitherto had posed a grave threat to Nigeria’s territorial integrity as well as development in the North East.
‘‘In fulfilling this promise, I made professionalism and capacity building of the armed forces a major security policy thrust of my administration. Training and the acquisition of brand new platforms and other support equipment for the Army, Navy, Air Force and other security agencies was intensified. While, the procurement process of military hardware was reviewed to remove inefficiency and corruption. “This was in practical fulfillment of my promise to re-professionalise and adequately equip our military so that they could effectively discharge their responsibilities. I have no doubt that the employment of the newly acquired platforms in addition to the Super Tucano aircraft which would be delivered in 2022, would add impetus to the combat efficiency of the Nigerian Air Force. I charge you to consolidate on the gains of air power towards sustaining the peace and stability we have attained so far.
While commending the Armed Forces and the security agencies for defeating the Boko Haram group and other security challenges bedevilling the country, the president noted that the contributions of the NAF in addressing the security challenges in the North West against armed banditry/cattle rustling and kidnapping had yielded positive results.
“Your efforts in conjunction with other security agents have started to yield positive results thereby restoring our pride and honour among the comity of nations. I also want to thank Nigerians for coming together as a united and determined people, irrespective of political, religious and ethnic affiliations, to wage the war against terror and insurgency.
“We are currently in the stabilisation, reconstruction and resettlement phase of the overall effort in the North East, and we continue to solicit for your support and understanding until terrorism is completely eradicated. We will not relent until every trouble spot within our territory enjoys enduring peace and order.