BY PHILIP NWOSU
The Nigerian Air Force said that despite pockets of attacks by insurgents, the military has substantially dealt with Boko Haram as they can no longer operate as a group.
The Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar explained this while declaring open the 2017 African Partnership Flight in Lagos noting that the defeat of the insurgents is very obvious “looking at where we were coming from in the last three years. I can tell you that we have substantially degraded the capacity of the Boko Haram to move as an organized fighting force.”
The assertion by the NAF chief came just as he also revealed that within the last five years the fight against the insurgent s has swelled the number of displaced persons to about 2million, insisting that it was the rise on the population of the Internally Displaced Person (IDP) that propelled the force to build a hospital for the displaced persons in the north east.
His words: “We are all aware of the current Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria has resulted in over two million Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) who are in dire need of one basic need or the other.
“It is for this reason that the NAF has embarked on several humanitarian programs aimed at alleviating the plight of the IDPs.
“Worthy of mention is the establishment of the NAF emergency hospitals at Bama and Dalori, where free medical care is provided in addition to regular medical outreach programmers in the various IDP camps in the North-east.
“For example the NAF just concluded a free surgical intervention program in the North- east during which 201 IDPs were operated on.”
While speaking on the African Partnership Flight, Air Marshal Abubakar said the initiative was held in a bid to further enhance regional cooperation, increase interoperability and build capacity, adding that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) partnered their United States of America counterpart and three other African nations.
He said that the initiative is a multilateral military to military engagement designed to enhance African regional cooperation, increase interoperability and build capacity in aviation, pointing out that, “globally, the concept of regions, forces has gained recognition as the best approach towards solving common security issues since the most prevalent form of welfare in contemporary times in asymmetric in nature and often transcends international borders.
“It is therefore important that contiguous nations should pull their resources together to ensure a synergy in their operations. This is for the common goal of stamping out the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east of Nigeria.
“The NAF which is one of the instruments of national power is not unmindful of the occasional need for services to participate in both joint and combined operations.
“The service is also mindful of the effect and aftermath of insurgency with particular reference to the plight of innocent civilians including women and children, who often are the unintended victim.
He said that the theme for the 2017 African Partnership Flight which is ‘Aeromedical evacuation and medical deployment’ could therefore not have been more appropriate considering the great need for proper medical care in and outside the theatre of operations.
He explained that, “accordingly, the efforts of the U.S. Air Force command in Europe in bringing together countries of the region to stimulate a combined security and humanitarian environment is highly commendable and appreciated.”
Also, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, in his keynote address said armed forces all over the world have the traditional role to defending their nations from external aggression and maintaining territorial integrity.
Ambode, who was represented by the Commissioner for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations, Mr. Oluseye Oladejo, said the armed forces have been busy doing a good job of confronting our nation’s multifaceted internal security challenges.
He said, “With the changing trends in modern warfare, armed forces have been further saddled with the tremendous responsibility of providing regional security through multinational joint forces.
“However, the major problems confronting such multinational forces are usually differences in doctrines, training, weapon, language and cultures, thus, underscoring the need for constant joint training to enhance interoperability. “
Also, the Director, Plans, Programs and Analysis, Brigadier General Dieter Bareihs, in his remarks acknowledged the presence of the California National Guard.
He said, “The history of airpower across the world, we strive to always improve and be better than we were. We look for old ways to do new things or new way to do new things and that is exactly what the APF is all about.
“This is a fabulous opportunity for all of us to strengthen the relationship among our armed forces and increase aviation capacity and capability, as well as work on regional cooperation and interoperability.”