By Kingsley Omonobi
Abuja—The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, retd, has said the high rate of successes recorded by the Armed Forces of Nigeria, AFN, lately could be attributed to improved levels of synergy and cooperation among the services.
Magashi, who stated this at the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, 58th-anniversary celebration, which is ongoing at the NAF Base, Kano, disclosed that the theme for the Seminar, ‘’Enhancing NAF’s Operational Efficiency in Joint Operations for Effective Response to Contemporary National Security Imperatives’’, would address operational challenges being experienced in the field, particularly in the area of air-to-ground integration and Unmanned Aircraft Systems optimization in the theatres.
“That is why I believe that this seminar could not have come at a better time as it will facilitate better use of air power in the joint employment of our armed forces,” he noted.
The minister also stated that despite its limitations, NAF, since its inception, had commendably carried out the core functions of protecting Nigeria’s air space and providing support to surface forces.
“In doing so, m the NAF has always displayed the highest level of professionalism and shown great resourcefulness in the areas of manpower management, Research and Development and in air operations execution,” he noted.
Gen Magashi reiterated the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration toward revamping the fortunes of the NAF and the armed forces in general.
He said: “Today, the fleet of the Nigerian Air Force has been reinforced with several platforms which have improved its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance as well as attack capabilities and extended the reach of the armed forces.’’
The minister called on NAF and the armed forces to renew their commitment and determination to play their part in addressing the security challenges threatening the peace and progress of the nation.
In his remarks, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, noted that since assuming office, President Muhammadu Buhari had fully supported the armed forces in general and, indeed, NAF, in particular, to enable them achieve their set objectives.
According to him, “the Federal Government has committed substantial national resources to enhance the overall capabilities of the armed forces in a bid to address the security challenges in various parts of the country.”
“This has not only succeeded in ameliorating equipment constraints experienced in previous years and the attendant implications of such constraints, but it has also spurred NAF personnel to be more committed to the decimation of subversive elements who seek to undermine the peace, progress, unity and faith of Nigeria.” he said.
Air Marshal Amao also stated that the theme of the seminar was timely since it would enable NAF appraise its current efforts while further repositioning itself to continuously project air power to meet its constitutional mandate.
He said the seminar stood out among other activities lined up for the celebrations, noting that the deliberations were expected to produce tangible strategies going forward in NAF operations.
He said one of the papers presented would address air-to-ground integration and operational efficiency from a holistic perspective, while the other would proffer ways of optimizing NAF’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle operations for efficiency in joint force employment.
The air chief expressed confidence that the discourse would spur better ideas for NAF to be more effective in the discharge of its responsibilities.
He also expressed appreciation to the governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, for his continued support to NAF in Kano and the defence minister for his guidance and encouragement.