By Adeola Badru
IBADAN— THE Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, yesterday, insisted that the Boko Haram insurgency has been substantially degraded.
Air Marshal Abubakar disclosed this while responding to questions from newsmen after delivering the second distinguished personality lecture titled: ‘The Roles of the Nigerian Air Force in Internal Security Operations in Nigeria’, organised by the Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies of the University of Ibadan at the International Conference Centre of the university.
While highlighting the success recorded in tackling the Boko Haram insurgency, Abubakar said it has been substantially degraded “because remember there were explosions everywhere in this country.
“If you recall in 2014, from where we are coming and where we are now, Boko Haram is caged in a section of northeast and we are fighting them daily, and I can tell you that they are substantially degraded.
“They are not able to come out as a force. From time to time, there may be a soft target here and there because we can’t be everywhere. Apart from that, I think you will agree with me that Boko Haram has been substantially degraded, as compared to where we were coming from, when bombs were exploded at the United Nations headquarters and everywhere.”
The situation has changed substantially.”
On ways the air force is aiding in tackling insurgency in the country, he said: “The Air Force is participating actively in the internal security of the country. In the northeast, North West and north-central and they are several roles.
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“One of which is providing closer support to Armed Forces. We provide air transportation, movement of equipment, personnel from the theatre of war to other areas and from other areas to the theatre of war. We also provide logistics support. We supply them armour, food, medicine and evacuate wounded soldiers and all that.”
On emerging security challenge in the Southwest and how it will be tackled, he said irrespective of key issues security is about everybody.
“It is not a military issue alone. Every Nigerian has a role to play and I urge all of us to play our roles, support security agencies. Give them relevant information.”
All these kidnappers and people committing crimes here and there, these are the people that are 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 secure environment,” he said.
Earlier in an address, the Director, Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, UI, Prof. Tajudeen Akanji, said: “The choice of Air Marshal SB Sadique is deliberate. 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.”