*says Nigerian Airforce carries out free surgeries on 201 IDPs
By Evelyn Usman
Chief of the Air Staff, CAS Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar , yesterday in Lagos boasted that that the Military had substantially degraded the capacity of the Boko Haram group to an extent that it can never work as an organized fighting force as it used to , in the North East region of the country.
This is just as he disclosed that the Air Force had concluded free surgical operation on 201 Internally Displaced Persons in the North East region of the state, as well as the deployment its medical personnel to various airports and airfields, to provide medical cover to troops and civilians within host communities in the region.
Air Marshal Abubakar who made the disclosure while declaring open the 2017 African Partnership Flight , with the theme ‘ Aeromedical Evacuation and Medical Deployment ‘ at 631 Aircraft Maintenance Deport , Ikeja, said “looking at where we are coming from in the last three years. I can tell you that we have substantially degraded the capacity of the Boko Haram to move as an organized fighting force.”
African Partnership Flight , a combined military training organised by the United States Airforce in Europe , in partnership with Nigerian Airforce according to the CAS, was designed to enhance African regional cooperation, as well as to build capacity in the aviation sector.
He noted that globally, the concept of regional forces had gained recognition as the best approach towards solving common security issues “ since the most prevalent form of warfare in contemporary times is asymmetric in nature and often transcended international boarders.
“ For instance, the allied Forces that prosecuted the Gulf war of 1993 against Iraq was a coalition of forces from NATO nations and other European countries. The Multinational Joint Task Force of the Lake Chad Region is another example , which involves troops from the countries bordering the Lake Chad. This is for the common goal of stamping out Boko Haram insurgency in the North East of Nigeria. It is therefore important that contiguous nations should pool their resources together to ensure a synergy in their operations.”
Nothing that the theme of the four-day event could not have been more appropriate considering the great need for proper medical care in and outside the theater of operations, he said that the NAF was also not unmindful of the dire need of the IDPs, as it had embarked on several humanitarian programmes among which were the establishment of the Nigerian Air Force Emergency hospitals at Bama and Dalori , where free medical care are provided , in addition to regular outreach programmes as well as the introduction of free feeding to primary schools in various IDP camps .
In his key note address, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos state commended the armed forces for defending the nations against external aggressors, nothing that armed forces all over the world had continued to maintain the traditional role.
But the governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations, Mr. Oluseye Oladejo, noted that “ With the changing trends in modern warfare, armed forces have been further saddled with the tremendous responsibility of providing regional security through multinational joint forces.
“However, the major problems confronting such multinational forces are usually differences in doctrines, training, weapon, language and cultures, thus, underscoring the need for constant joint training to enhance interoperability”, he said, expressing optimism that the outcome of the event would further build the capacity of the NAF personnel “ in their untiring efforts at reaching IDPs and other non-combatant.”
Also in his remarks , the Director, Plans, Programs, African Partnership Flight , Brigadier General Dieter Bareihs, expressed hope that the gathering of armed forces drawn from five countries which included Chad, Benin Republic , Niger Republic, Nigeria and the United States, would provide an opportunity to strengthen relations among participating countries as well as increase aviation capability and capacity .