By Augustine Ehikioya
To squarely defeat insecurity in Nigeria, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal, Hasan Abubakar, has reassured his tenure’s resolve to provide the necessary air power by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to defeat insecurity in the country.
To this end, he said, he will effectively deploy technology, innovation, lessons learnt, the personnel and fleets on ground to tackle security threats.
He made the remark while meeting with Branch Chiefs and other senior officers. It was attended by Security Watch Africa (SWA).
He said “Considering our modest ORBAT, coupled with efforts emplaced to enhance platform serviceability vis-à-vis our current security environment, only a carefully thought-out strategy guided by a strong philosophy can adequately situate the NAF to address the Nation’s security challenges.
“My philosophy therefore intends to avail our personnel with a holistic view and focus on how we intend to accomplish the NAF Mission as espoused in the 2017 NNDP document. Accordingly, the focus of my command philosophy is, “To transform the NAF into an agile and resilient force that effectively meets the airpower demands of national security in all operational environments.”
“To achieve this, I intend to leverage on technology, innovation, lessons learnt as well as the personnel and fleets at our disposal to effectively checkmate the security threats confronting our dear nation.
“I have also identified 5 key enablers that would give bite to my philosophy. The key enablers are;
a. Optimizing Force Structure and Establishment for enhanced operational effectiveness.
b. Deliberate training and mission-oriented force development.
c. Proactive logistics support and strong maintenance culture.
d. Prioritizing R&D leveraging cutting-edge technology, strategic partnerships and lessons learnt.
e. Maintaining a highly motivated force by enhancing welfare and infrastructural renewal.
“I am confident that the actualization of my philosophy would lead to the attainment of the main objective of the 2017 NNDP that security is the cornerstone of development and progress in a free society which guarantees the wellbeing of citizens and stability of the Nigerian State.
“Accordingly, immediate and proactive steps will be taken to reorganize the NAF into an outfit that would deliver the requisite capabilities in line with the requirements of my philosophy.
“It is expected that our personnel will also peruse and key into my philosophy for the Service to enable them have a clear understanding of my focus on the future direction of the Service and for us all to be on the same page. For the Air Officers Commanding and field Commanders, it is expected that your conducts and action out there in the field would be guided by the 5 key enablers of my philosophy to bring it to fruition,” he stated.
Stressing that the NAF has never had it so good in terms of aircraft acquisition, he said, that the FGN has since 2015, acquired about 70 new aircraft to boost training and combat readiness of the NAF.
According to him, the NAF will receive delivery of additional platforms to boost air power employment and projection capabilities, air combat training, in the coming months.
The Air Chief added “No doubt these acquisitions are clear signs of the FGN’s willingness to lead in combating national and regional threats to peace and security.
“Efforts have also been emplaced to enhance platform serviceability, which has led to us maintaining an average serviceability status of over 70 per cent with positive implications on ongoing joint and independent operations,” he said.
Noting that the contemporary operating environment within Nigeria and the West African sub- Region can be aptly described as diffuse and complex, he said, “The uncertainty that this situation portends for the political climate of the Region must not be lost on us.
“As a Service subservient to the political class, our state of readiness and preparedness should the need for deployment arise remains paramount and must never be in doubt.
“This is in line with our constitutional responsibility to perform tasks that may be assigned to us by our political leaders. Even as we remain in this state of readiness, let me urge us all to continue to remain apolitical, patriotic and to conduct our affairs in the most professional and disciplined manner.”
He commended the officers for their commitment in tackling the current security challenges facing the nation.
He said “I am particularly glad about the recent heightened level of air operations across all our joint operations theatres which has seen us record tremendous outcomes.
“While so much has been achieved, a lot still needs to be done to ensure we fully attain our set objectives. I therefore implore you all to use this medium to interact frankly and objectively while proffering solutions and strategies that will translate to actionable consequences on the ground.
“I am confident that the resolutions we would reach and indeed the decisions we will take, will help us move the NAF to greater heights.
“As part of events lined up for today’s meeting, I shall be handing out brand new Hilux Toyota vehicles to some of our Air Warrant Officers in honour of their selfless services to the NAF, the Armed Forces and the nation at large, having attained the pinnacle of the airmen’s cadre.
“This is also in keeping with the Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service (HTACOS) and in line with one of the key enablers of my Command Philosophy to, ‘Maintain a highly motivated force by enhancing welfare and infrastructural renewal’.
“I am hopeful that this will spur those coming up to work harder and aspire as we all fudge onwards towards contributing our best to the growth of the NAF,” he stated.