We’ve Substantially Degraded Boko Haram, Insists Air Force Chief


Chiemelie Ezeobi
The Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Monday said Boko Haram has been substantially degraded in the past three years as an organised sect, admitting that there might be patches of the sect still fighting.

The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, made the disclosure at the opening ceremony of the 2017 African Partnership Flight (APF) held at 631 Aircraft Maintenance Depot, Ikeja, Lagos.
The APF was held in a bid to further enhance regional cooperation, increase interoperability and build capacity.

Thus, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) partnered their United States of America counterpart and three other African nations.
The APF, which was organised by the US Government but hosted by NAF, had three other African nations including Chad, Benin Republic and Niger Republic as participants.

Abubakar who said the Boko Haram has been substantially degraded in the past three years as an organised sect, admitted that there might be patches of the sect still fighting, adding that the armed forces will not relent in this quest to totally degrade the sect.

On the APF, he said: “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. 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.
“We are all aware of the current Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria has resulted in over two million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) 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.
“The theme for the 2017 APFwhich 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.

“Accordingly, the efforts of the US 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 the 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 his 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, Programmes 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.”