Tinubu: No Room for Celebration Until Military Ends Insecurity, Returns to Nigeria

Tinubu: No Room for Celebration Until Military Ends Insecurity, Returns to Nigeria

•Urges security agencies to step up game

•Seeks change in mind-set, strategy, tactics

•Inducts two NAF helicopters, aircraft 

•Senate to grill service chiefs today

Deji Elumoye, Sunday Aborisade in Abuja, George Okoh in Makurdi and John Shiklam in Kaduna

President Bola Tinubu returned to the country yesterday from his two-week private visit to France. Tinubu flew in just hours after he told the military and other security agencies in the country, through Vice President Kashim Shettima, that in spite of their modest success, there would be no room for celebration until they ended insecurity in the country.

The president’s official plane, Nigeria Air Force 1, landed yesterday evening at the Presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, about 8:55pm.

Tinubu, who had left for France on January 24, was received at the airport by top government officials, including Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume; the president’s Chief of Staff, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila; National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu; and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike.

At the airport also were Kaduna State Governor, Uba Sani; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri; Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), and Alhaji Yusuf Magaji Bichi, among others.

The president’s latest trip to France was the third since he became president, and second private visit, one being official.  The first was in June 2023, three weeks after assuming office, while the second was in September 2023.

Tinubu, who was apparently worried by the rising security challenges bedevilling Nigeria, urged the security agencies to step up efforts at containing the multi-dimensional security problems facing the country.

He gave the charge during the induction ceremony of two TK-129 ATAK Helicopters and a King Air 360i Aircraft at the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Base, Makurdi.

The president reiterated his administration’s continued support to the country’s security forces through the modernisation of fleets, training, and welfare of personnel, and called for change in mind-set, tactics, and strategy.

The appeal came as the senate, yesterday, said it would grill the service chiefs today and tomorrow over the insecurity in the country.

Represented by Shettima, Tinubu admitted that coordination among security agencies had improved significantly, but he declared it was not yet uhuru.

The president said, “There is no room for celebrations until we put an end to the security logjam; until we can bring our troops back to their localities, and until we can free up resources for our critical economic expansion programme.

“I have no doubt that the deployment of these platforms would add impetus to the combat efficiency of the Nigerian Air Force in addressing our contemporary security challenges, not only within the shores of our country but also in the West African region.

“We are committed to taking the right steps to achieve the desired results. The acquisition of these aircraft amongst other military equipment, despite our budgetary constraints, is an expression of our commitment.”

Tinubu added, “We shall ensure that every sector of our nation benefits from the change that we promised. I, therefore, expect discipline in operation and a strong maintenance culture that will enable the nation to derive maximum benefits from these acquisitions.”

The president recalled the inauguration and induction of four additional Diamond-62 surveillance aircraft into the arsenal of the Nigerian Air Force about two months ago, saying it is a symbol of his government’s enduring commitment to the ideals of patriotism and investment in the nation’s security.

He said, “Indeed, our solemn commitment to safeguarding Nigeria’s security hinges upon the realisation that without vigilant attention to the needs of our Armed Forces, who are saddled with the maintenance of peace, law, order and stability, anarchy and lawlessness would surely prevail.”

Tinubu said the acquisition of aircraft had become necessary to improve the strategic use of air power in combating terrorism, insurgency and other security challenges plaguing the nation.

He said since the Nigerian Air Force was established in 1964, it had played a critical role in national security, peace-keeping, and humanitarian operations globally.

The president stated that its “contributions to the sustenance and maintenance of peace and security in places, like The Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Mozambique, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Cameroun, have not only been a source of pride to Nigeria, but have projected the nation as a reliable regional power.

“This is, indeed, most commendable, just as the Nigerian Air Force continues to synergise with other security agencies in curtailing the threats posed by terrorists, insurgents and other criminal elements in the country.”

Recalling a promise during his inaugural speech last year that security would be the top priority of his administration, the president said about six months after the pledge, “So much has been achieved due to the gallant and synergistic efforts of our various security agencies.”

Tinubu assured that “professionalism, capacity building and adequate equipping of our Armed Forces and other security agencies are a major policy thrust” of his administration.

He reiterated that under his watch, the federal government “will continue to re-professionalise and re-equip the armed forces and security agencies to effectively discharge their duties to our nation.”

He stated that as Chairman of ECOWAS, he was working diligently to enhance regional conflict management and development mechanisms.

Inducting the aircraft and helicopters, the president said, “Finally, I congratulate the Chief of the Air Staff and all the personnel of the Air Force on this occasion of the commissioning of the T-129 ATAK helicopters and King Air 360i aircraft into the Service.

“At this juncture, I hereby induct the 2 x T -129 ATAK helicopters as NAF 500 and NAF 501 and King Air 360i as NAF 205 into the Service of the Nigerian Air Force and our country.”

Earlier, in his welcome address, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, said the acquisition and induction of the T129 Atak helicopter and Beechcraft King Air 360i aircraft was a testimony of the federal government’s unwavering resolve to equip and empower the air force and enhance its capacity to address security challenges confronting the country, in conjunction with sister forces and security agencies.

Abubakar thanked Tinubu for the provision to enable the Nigerian Air Force to acquire seven brand-new aircraft within six months of his administration.

He disclosed that the air force was currently overhauling its operational platforms, equipment and the entire environment to improve efficiency and service delivery.

Speaking at the occasion, Minister of Defence, Alhaji Abubakar Badaru, said the induction of the new platforms for the Air Force was a testimony of Tinubu’s resolve to add impetus to the armed forces’ fight against security challenges in the country.

Badaru commended the armed forces for the commitment to executing their assignments in line with the counter-terrorism plan of the present administration. He urged the military to imbibe a positive maintenance culture in utilising platforms purchased by the government.

Senate Grills Service Chiefs Today

The senate said it would grill the service chiefs today and tomorrow over the deplorable state of security in the country.  Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator Adetokunbo Abiru, stated this while addressing journalists.

Abiru said the planned interface with Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso, was shifted from Tuesday to Friday, since Wednesday and Thursday had been slated for questioning the service chiefs by the senate. He said the invitation had been extended to members of the President’s Economic Team.

The senate had by its resolution last Tuesday, summoned the service chiefs to appear before it in plenary for explanations on the worsening security situation in the country.

The committee on banking had last week, also, summoned the CBN governor to appear before it yesterday on the state of the country’s economy and free flow of the naira. 

Members of the committee were already gathered at the venue of the planned interface with the CBN governor when it was obvious that Cardoso would have been overstressed in the House of Representatives.

Abiru said, “After waiting for close to two hours for the CBN governor on the planned interface, we have resolved to postpone it to Friday this week by 9:00am prompt.

“Postponement of the interface between our committee and the CBN governor arose from the fact that he and other managers of the nation’s economy have been interfacing with our colleagues in the House of Representatives since morning without knowing when exactly the session would end.

“We would have fixed Wednesday or Thursday this week as new day for the interface, but the senate as a whole, has fixed the two days, for very critical and constructive engagement with the service chiefs.

“This made us to eventually settle for Friday this week for interface with the CBN governor by 9: 00am prompt. Communication to this effect would be forwarded to the CBN governor today (yesterday, Tuesday) and possibly other government officials managing the economy.”

Earlier, the senate in plenary had two hours closed-door session after which it considered a motion from Senator Ahmad Lawan on the demise of Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim by observing a minute silence for the deceased and raising nine-man delegation to pay a condolence visit to the governor of Yobe State and the family of the deceased.

The delegation was to be led by Senator Adamu Aliero (PDP Kebbi Central).

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