By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar on Monday hinted that the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northwest and Northeast part of Nigeria has been caged and degraded substantially.
Speaking at the 2nd Distinguished Personality Lecture of the Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies of the University of Ibadan, with the theme : Roles of the Nigerian Air Force in Internal Security Operations in Nigeria, the Chief of Air Staff said efforts of the military in the North have yielded positive results as it has caged the Boko Haram insurgents to one section of the North East and that the insurgents have been substantially degraded unlike what it used to be in 2014.
“The Boko Haram insurgency is substantially degrading. There used to be explosions everywhere. If you recall in 2014, from where we were coming, to where we are now, Boko Haram is being caged in a section of the North East and we are fighting them. We are fighting them on daily basis and I can tell you that they have been substantially degraded. They are not being able to come out as a force to really come up.” he said.
Air Marshal Abubakar added, “From time to time, there might be some soft targets here and there. But we can’t be everywhere. Apart from that, I think you would agree with me that as compared to where we are coming, when bombs were exploding in United Nations headquarters and everywhere. The situation has changed substantially.”
Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar stressed that the lecture “is about the role of Nigerian Air Force in resolving the internal security challenges facing Nigeria.”, saying, ” the NAF is participating actively in all the internal security operations, both in the North East, North West and North Central. There are several roles, one of which is close-air support. We provide close-air support to ground forces.”
“NAF has been providing air transportation with modern equipment for personnel from the theatre of war, and to other areas in the theatre of war. We have also been providing logistic supply for the Nigerian Army. There are several sectors of the Army. We supply them armour, food and medicine and we evacuate wounded soldiers.”
The Chief of Air Staff then urged Nigerians to give the needed to the security operatives through the provision of information that will help improve the security architecture, saying, “there are few challenges here and there. But security is about everybody. It is not a military issue alone. Every Nigerian has a role to play”
” I urge all of us to play our roles, support security agencies and give relevant information. All these kidnappers and people that are committing crimes here and there are people living within our communities. We should be able to pass relevant information to security agencies. I think with that information, we should be able to have a more secured environment”,.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof Abel Idowu Olayinka represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (admin) Professor Kayode Adebowale disclosed that the Institute for Peace and Strategic Study was built to harmonized the existing peace and security in the nation, and to bridge the existing gaps between the government amd the people both at the local level and internationally.
The Vice Chancellor said the Nigerian air force has a very strong research and security network, and should use such to build more security system in the country and also commended the efforts of the Nigerian Air Force to cub the issue of insurgency and other security challenges in Nigeria.
The Director of the Institute of Peace and Strategic Study, Prof Tajudeen Akanji in his welcome address noted that the institute was created by the university as one of the strategy to contribute to the societies needs in building a peaceful and peaceable environments for growth and development.
“The choice of Air Marshal SB Sadique for today’s lecture is deliberately, because of the changing nature of internal security operations in the security sector particularly in Nigeria has revealed the increased strategic importance of the Nigerian Air Force in the prosecution of the various operations, we have witnessed the contributions of the leadership style of the CAS in the success attained so far in the Book Haram operations, credence to this was reported in 2018 global terrorism reports, new emerging threats are calling for more actions from the security agencies, especially the air force.” he said.
The Director pointed out that the institute ” is a multidisciplinary academic institution established to drive strategic initiatives geared towards addressing contemporary security challenges in Nigeria,” and that as a substantive academic unit, IPSS has since risen to its statutory responsibilities in post graduate teaching, research and community service, and thus enhancing the international agenda of the university.