The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has stated that global experience shows that air power is critical to the defeat of asymmetric warfare such as the Boko Haram insurgency. He said this on 7 August 2017 while visiting the frontline troops at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base in Yola. “All hands must therefore be on deck to ensure the effective projection of air power to complete the defeat of the Boko Haram challenge”, he said. Accordingly, the CAS urged all the personnel to ensure that all the NAF aircraft committed to Operation LAFIYA DOLE remained serviceable and operational for the NAF to effectively project air power. He also assured the personnel that the Service Chiefs had started exploring how to improve the synergy among the 3 Services towards putting a final end to the Boko Haram menace.
While on the visit, Air Marshal Abubakar expressed appreciation to the NAF personnel for their continuous selfless efforts towards ensuring that Nigerians are able to go about their normal businesses without fear. He also commended their efforts in maintaining aircraft and associated equipment, which had enabled the NAF to fly over 9000 hours in the previous 2 years alone, in prosecution of the counterinsurgency operations. The CAS added that there was no doubt that the security situation in the country had improved but he was quick to add that the NAF could still do more, especially in view of the recent setbacks. Air Marshal Abubakar therefore charged the personnel to redouble their efforts at further ensuring the security of the country, remarking that Nigerians expected more considering the huge taxpayers’ resources being expended to sustain the operations.
While making comments, most of the personnel appreciated the efforts of the NAF leadership in creating a conducive environment to operate. A few highlighted some challenges bordering on operational, training and welfare matters whereas others suggested additional infrastructural development to enable them function better. The CAS promptly addressed all the issues raised, to the satisfaction of the personnel. He subsequently cautioned the personnel on the need to take absolute care of the equipment entrusted in their care as well as to always adhere to all the safety standards and procedures already in place. The CAS also seized the opportunity to inspect ongoing projects on the NAF Base in Yola.
Air Marshal Abubakar later returned to Maiduguri, where the Air Component Commander briefed the Honourable Minister of Defence, Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali and the Chairman Senate Committee on Defence, Senator Abubakar Kyari on recent air operations. Afterwards, both the Minister and the Chairman took turns to address the NAF officers, praising them for their professionalism and dedication to duty. The Minister and the CAS also addressed some of the NAF Special Forces, who are fighting alongside the land forces.
The main essence of the visit was to enable the CAS thank the personnel for their efforts, listen to their inputs and possible challenges as well as to urge them to show more commitment to the ongoing counterinsurgency operations.