NAF Engages ‘Soft Power’ Approach in Tackling Insecurity as Air Chief Sadique Receives University Double Honour
University of Ibadan Honours Air Chief
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has been honoured as a Distinguished Alumnus of Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies (IPSS) of the University of Ibadan (UI) and a Fellow of the School of Peace Studies and Practice (SPSP) of the University.
The investiture and presentation of awards, which were done in recognition of Air Marshal Abubakar’s contributions to the sustenance of peace across the Country, took place in Ibadan today, 22 July 2019, during the IPSS 2nd Distinguished Personality Lecture on the topic; “Roles of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in Internal Security (IS) Operations in Nigeria” delivered by the CAS.
In his lecture, the CAS advocated for the emplacement of a robust military industrial complex as well as the provision of alternate source of funds for the military to effectively tackle current and emerging security challenges in the country.
He stated that in a bid to secure territorial integrity and sovereignty of a country, the need to leverage the military industrial complex to equip the Armed Forces cannot be overemphasized; noting that the absence of a military industrial complex in the country has made the NAF dependent on foreign countries for the purchase of most of its defence equipment. This, he said, has economic and security implications for the nation, especially in terms of depletion of foreign exchange and low operational readiness.
Air Marshal Abubakar stated further that additional funding could be provided for the Service through extra budgetary appropriations and medium term budget expenditure framework.
This, according to him, would ensure that funds for capital projects such as procurement of aircraft and other equipment, which are usually over extended periods, are already appropriated for the duration of the contract. It would also ensure that funds are available for short, medium and long term needs of the Service with the result that the NAF would be able to meet its operational and other challenges more efficiently.
The CAS noted that in managing the threats to internal security, various methods and approaches such as peace talks and confidence building measures had been adopted and implemented. However, due to the amorphous nature of the security challenges coupled with the use of violence by unscrupulous elements, the Armed Forces of Nigeria, including the NAF, had been involved and, in many cases, become the vanguard in resolving internal security problems. In this regard, he highlighted some of the roles of the NAF to include; offensive and defensive counter air operations, close air support, air interdiction, air transport operations, casualty evacuation, maritime air operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) as well as search and rescue. The CAS stated that the NAF has been involved in a range of IS Operations, which include Operation DELTA SAFE to provide real-time ISR to support effective coverage and monitoring as well as security of Nigeria’s oil and gas infrastructure, and ensure the safety of law-abiding citizens of the Niger Delta Region.
Also notable are the NAF’s contributions to Operation LAFIYA DOLE, with the establishment of the Air Task Force (ATF), which supports the ground forces.
The air effort in OP LAFIYA DOLE, the CAS noted, has been critical in shaping the environment for the surface forces and in the successes that have been achieved so far in the on-going counter-insurgency operation. The NAF, he said, has flown over 50,000 hours in support of Operation LAFIYA DOLE in the last 4 years. Other Operations include DIRAN MIKIYA, now collapsed into Operation HADARIN DAJI, aimed at identifying and neutralizing armed bandits as well as deterring them from carrying out attacks on affected communities in the North West. In the same vein, the NAF has also participated in Operation AWATSE, aimed at curbing the menace of hoodlums and petroleum pipeline vandalism in the densely forested swamps around Arepo, Elepete, Abule Oba and Gbaga communities located in Lagos and Ogun States, as well as Operation WHIRL STROKE to curb the security threats in the North Central States.
Air Marshal Abubakar said the NAF has also engaged ‘soft power’ approaches to tackling various security challenges in the country. These include humanitarian programmes to win the hearts and minds of the people, such as provision of water supply, school feeding, donation of food items as well as the conduct of medical outreaches in various host communities and conflict areas. According to him, “Since the inception of the current leadership of the NAF in July 2015, the Service has conducted over 57 medical outreaches with a total of 308,226 patients treated by the NAF Medical teams during these interventions. This number comprises 705 general surgeries, 863 eye surgeries and 306,655 medical checkups and screenings. The NAF has also established and maintains a Level 2 Hospital at each of the IDP Camps in Dalori and Bama in Borno State. These Hospitals provide both preventive and therapeutic services to the displaced persons”, the CAS said.
The CAS, who was first received at UI by the Director IPSS, Professor Tajudeen Akanji, and conducted on a tour of facilities at the Institute, had earlier paid a courtesy call on the UI Vice Chancellor (VC), Professor Idowu Olayinka. Represented by the Deputy VC Administration, Professor Emmanuel Adebowale, the VC stated that he was highly delighted to receive the CAS back home. He commended the CAS for the remarkable achievements and successes recorded in the fight against terrorism in the Northeast as well as other internal security threats. He noted that the University was extremely proud of the achievements recorded by the NAF, under Air Marshal Abubakar’s leadership, in the areas of capacity building, infrastructural development, acquisition and reactivation of platforms, and particularly in Research and Development (R&D).
He specifically commended the NAF’s commitment to leverage the technological knowledge and skills of Nigerian Universities through its Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with 15 Universities, which included UI. The CAS expressed his extreme delight to be so honoured by none other than Nigeria’s premier Academic Institution which has been at the forefront of tertiary education in the country for over 70 years. He pledged that he would continue to make UI and IPSS proud.
Other dignitaries at the event included a representative of the Chief Judge of Oyo State and other members of the State Judiciary; UI, IPSS and SPSP Principal Officers; the Air Officer Commanding Logistics Command; General Officer Commanding 2 Division Nigerian Army; Commadant Armed Forces Resettlement Centre Oshodi; senior serving and retired military officers as well as heads of security agencies, amongst others.
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Nigerian Air Force