Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Against the backdrop of the capture of headquarters of Marte Local Government Area of Borno State by terrorist group, Boko Haram, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, yesterday ordered Nigerian Air Force (NAF) pilots and special forces involved in the ongoing war against insurgency and armed banditry to fight to the finish.
The charge came as the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, has urged the troops of I Brigade Nigerian Army involved in the fight against armed bandits in Zamfara State to remain steadfast.
In a goodwill message to the NAF officers and airmen involved in the twin war against insurgency and armed banditry to commemorate Eid-el-fitr, Abubakar ordered pilots to display rugged determination in the fight against the enemies of the country and ignore the propaganda machinery of the insurgents and their sympathisers.
“I wish to particularly thank all NAF personnel for their patriotism, dedication and countless sacrifices made in the various theatres of operation. Your valuable contributions have ensured that aircraft and ancillary equipment are available, logistics requirements are in place, administrative necessities are met and personnel are combat-ready to tackle the challenges confronting the nation.
“The commitment of commanders and supervisors at all levels has also facilitated higher standards of professionalism in the service through robust, job-focused training; commitment to improving personnel welfare as well as result-oriented Research and Development (R&D), which have all had a marked positive impact on our operational effectiveness”, he said.
The CAS maintained that “our gallant fighter and helicopter gunship pilots as well as our regiment and special forces personnel are adapting creditably to the threats facing our nation and are making good progress. “This is critical to the NAF’s increasing capacity for projection as well as protection of air power, which are the core functions for which the service is uniquely positioned,” he said.
Abubakar urged them to redouble their efforts and engage the “security challenges with rugged optimism and renewed determination, while remaining professional in the discharge of your constitutional duty of ensuring the security of our beloved nation and its good people.
“You must be courageous, take the battle to all the adversaries of our great nation, be they terrorists, insurgents, bandits or any other criminal elements, in synergy with our sister services and other security agencies.
“Fight them to the finish, not minding the malicious propaganda of the terrorists and their sympathisers. You must also remember, in the course of your duties, to always operate within the ambits of extant local and international laws, while showing compassion and respect for all law-abiding citizens”.
Meanwhile, Buratai, yesterday urged troops of the 1 Brigade of the Nigerian Army on Operation Sharan Daji to remain steadfast as they confront raging armed banditry in the North-west.
Buratai made the charge while on a morale boosting visit to the troops in Zamfara State in commemoration of the Eid-el-fitri.
Buratai who was represented by Major General Lamidi Adeosun visited troops deployed to the Forward Operation Base (FOB) Kauran Namoda, Operation Hadarin Daji in Zamfara State.
He used to opportunity to interact with troops while boosting their morale by charging them to defeat all forms of criminality ,especially armed banditry in their Area of Responsibility (AOR).
Adeosun read the good will message of the army chief to the troops while urging them to sustain the tempo by ensuring the criminal elements are defeated to enable them return to their respective station to enjoy “barrack life”.
He also assured troops of enhancement in their welfare package and remuneration.
The COAS later paid a courtesy visit to the newly inaugurated Governor of Zamfara State, Hon. Mohammed Bello Matawale, alongside members of his entourage.
The governor who was visibly elated, showered encomiums on the army chief for his commitment in ensuring Nigeria becomes a peaceful entity.
He also pledged to support the Nigerian Army by providing the necessary logistics to ensure the menace of armed banditry was eliminated across the State. He used the opportunity to request for more manpower to enable troops reopen the Gusau — Katsina — Sokoto road occasionally disturbed by bandits.