By OKOSUN DENNIS
The Nigeria Air Force (NAF) on Monday said Boko Haram sects have been substantially degraded as an organised sect.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, made this disclosure at the opening ceremony of the 2017 African Partnership Flight (APF) held at 631 Aircraft Maintenance Depot, Ikeja, Lagos.
National Daily gathered that APF was held in a bid to further enhance regional cooperation, increase interoperability and build capacity.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) host the programme in conjunction with United States of America counterpart while Chad, Republic of Benin and Niger Republic are participants.
The activities lined up for this event includes the static display which is intended to showcase the arrangement of stretchers in the NAF C-130H aircraft, as well as the training of participants from the participating countries.
Abubakar who said that Boko Haram had been substantially been degraded in the past three years as an organised sect, admitted that there might be patches of the sect still fighting.
“The APF is a multilateral military to military engagement designed to enhance African regional cooperation, increase interoperability and build capacity in aviation.
“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,” he said.
Abubakar said that this was 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.
“We are all aware of the current boko haram insurgency in Nigeria which has resulted in over two million Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) who are in dire need of one basic need or the other,” he said.
“The theme for the 2017 African Partnership Flight which is ‘Aeromedical Evacuation and Medical Deployment” could not have come at a better time than this.
“This is also considering the great need for proper medical care in and outside the theatre of operations.
The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, in his keynote address said armed forces all over the world have the traditional role to play in defending their nations from external aggression and maintaining territorial integrity.
Ambode, 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.
“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.
“You will all recall that in a bid to reposition the armed forces to better cope with those challenges, the present administration under the leadership of President Muhammad Buhari has made modernisation, re-equipping and continuous training a top priority,” he said.
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He said it was particularly noteworthy that the U.S. had been supportive in the efforts at building the capacity of NAF personnel.
Also, the Director, Plans, Programs and Analysis, Brigadier General Dieter Bareihs, in his remarks acknowledged the presence of the California National Guard.
“The history of airpower across the world will 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,” he said.
Present at the exercise were senior military officers including the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Peter Dauke and their counterparts from other the U.S and other African countries.