Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Mohammed Diko Umar
Federal Government has ceded the nation's Air Borders patrol to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) as an additional responsibility to help the country tackle its present internal security challenges arising from terrorists activities.
This was disclosed Wednesday by the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Mohammed Diko Umar, at the two-day 2012 Nigerian Air Force Retreat for Commanders and Directors across the country.
Umar, while declaring open the retreat tagged; 'Reawakening the Fundamental Concepts of Leadership for Effective Command' expressed regret that the internal security problems of the country had reached such a level that the military were fully involved.
He said that they were ever prepared to take up any additional duties assigned to them by government to save the present situation from deteriorating further.
He assured: " The Air Force had the competence and facilities to handle the additional assignment adequately, only additional support and instruction were needed to enhance the commencement of our operations.
"We are ready to carry out any tasks the nation wants us to do, all we require now is directives and we will commence operations".
CAS who noted that Air Border Patrol was not part of NAF's main and original responsibilities, however stated that the need to cede it to them became imperative following the outright inability of the agency saddled with the duties to effectively execute it to the nation's security advantage.
He disclosed that they were still waiting for the formal hand of the border control from the supervising agency and assured that NAF would maximise the opportunity to tackle the present security problems in the country.
Umar further disclosed the readiness of NAF to carry out their new responsibility effectively, especially based on the fact that all their operational bases are active with over 65 per cent aircraft fleets flying.
He said: "As you already know, all Nigerian Air Force operational bases are active with over 65 per cent of our aircraft fleets flying while additional responsibilities of air border patrol have been assigned to us.
"These duties, including our involvement in internal security operations across the country, necessitate thorough planning and coordination of operational and logistics activities as well as administration in order to execute assigned tasks in the most effective manner".
"However, we are still awaiting the formal handover of the assets and liabilities of the Air Border Patrol to the NAF by the agencies concerned to enhance its commencement of air borders operations.
Speaking further, the CAS said that the retreat became very imperative following the needs to review their operations to effectively tackle insecurities in the country.
He also stressed on the needs for NAF Commanding Officers and Directors, to live up to their responsibilities; as the present security challenges in the country leaves them with no room for errors.
It will be recalled that formal border control is the original responsibility of the Nigerian Immigration Service under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior.
However, since the emergence of Boko Haram Islamic sect and alleged infiltration of light weapons from Libya down to Nigeria through mostly Northern porous border, many have called for more active border supervision and patrol.