- Germany to start supply of military hardware to Nigeria
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
As part of preparations towards inducting new platforms, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is expanding the apron at the military wing of Yola International Airport to enhance air operations against the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east and is inducting more aircrafts into its inventory.
This came as German government monday disclosed its plans to commence the supply of military hardware to support Nigeria’s counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in the North-east and Niger Delta regions, before the end of 2016.
The Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, in a statement yesterday, said NAF, at present, is at the verge of inducting the Mi-35M helicopter gunship and JF-17 Thunder Fighter Ground Attack aircraft in addition to acquiring the Super Mushshack trainer aircraft.
Famuyiwa said that there are also strong indications that the US Government may give the nod sooner than expected with regards to the sale of Super Tucano to the NAF to replace the ageing Alpha Jets.
He said that the proposed fleet expansion, according to the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar, necessitated the expansion of existing facilities including the apron, pilot crew room, office/residential accommodation and recreation facilities newly put-in place to enhance the welfare of the personnel and reposition the NAF for effective and efficient air operations.
The DOPRI said that the Governor of Adamawa State, Sen. Muhammad Umaru Jibrilla Bindow, while commissioning the new projects, lauded the NAF for the commitment towards enhancing the welfare of its personnel.
Bindow, he said, noted that the projects are testaments to the high premium the NAF places on the welfare of its personnel and prudent management of resources by the incumbent leadership.
Famuyiwa said that governor also applauded the NAF for its contributions to the counterinsurgency operations with a promise to continue to work with the Service to achieve more successes.
In a similar development, he stated that Abubakar also used the opportunity of his operational visit to Maiduguri to commission a new block of transit accommodation constructed for officers.
In a related development, Famuyiwa said that NAF had in furtherance of its humanitarian support for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Northeast, saw another batch of 70 persons benefiting from its free eye surgery.
“The latest beneficiaries followed the first batch of 50 IDPs operated upon by NAF medics in Maiduguri. So far, the NAF has provided free medical care for over 30,000 victims of the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary, German Foreign Office, Mr. Markus Elderer, while speaking to journalists on the sideline of the defence session of the Nigeria-Germany Bi-National Commission meeting in Abuja said the decision of his country to support Nigerian security forces efforts in tackling the emerging challenges was at the instance of a request made by President Muhammadu Buhari at the last G-7 summit hosted by Germany last year.
He listed the expected equipment to include ground surveillance equipment, anti-mine equipment, gunboats and others.
He further disclosed that Germany would commence the supply of the equipment as soon as the equipment aid agreement was signed between the representatives of both countries.
Elderer also explained that the military aid to Nigeria would also include training of Nigerian military personnel especially military engineers in the handling and maintenance of the equipment.
He said: “It was at the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Germany at the occasion of the G-7 summit that it was decided that we will very practically help to address Nigeria’s security concerns.
“The Nigerian government requested equipment support and military training so we are incorporating all of these in this agreement.
“We are doing this through training, through equipment supply like the ground radar system, mine clearing equipment and mobile health units for the security forces in order for them to carry out these difficult tasks of combating terrorism.
“We are almost at the finishing line and we are just awaiting the signing of the agreement so that we can begin implementation, I think everything will be done this year,” he added.
Speaking further, Elderer identified other aspects of the agreement as bio-security, mopping of small arms in the country, police training and health support.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Ambassador Danjuma Sheni, said that the efforts of the German government to support Nigeria’s quest for peace and security in the sub region was laudable.
Sheni assured that Nigeria would leverage on the opportunities created through the Nigeria-Germany Bi-National Commission to boost other aspects of relations that was beneficial to both countries.
He revealed that the secretariat of the commission was working tirelessly to ensure that the agreement was signed before the end of June.
“We have actually been working on this agreement for a while now, the agreement is particularly important because it would fast track the kind of relationship we have,” he said.
“Germany has offered some equipment for use both in the creeks and in the North East, there are mine clearing equipment and others.
“But all these will be delivered when the agreement is signed, so we are working day and night and I can assure that between the next two to three weeks this agreement will be signed.” he added.
The Permanent Secretary also noted that the German delegation is in Nigeria to finalise the signing of agreements under the auspices of the Nigeria-Germany Bi-National Commission.
He said that the equipment aid programme which comprised supply of military hardware and military training is a key feature in the Nigeria-Germany Bi-National Commission deliberations.