Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, yesterday said military operations in the north had yielded positive results by caging Boko Haram insurgents to one section of the North East.
He disclosed this in an interview with journalists after he delivered the second distinguished personality lecture, entitled: ‘Roles of the Nigerian Air Force in Internal Security Operations in Nigeria,’ organised by the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies (IPSS), University of Ibadan (UI), held at the International Conference Centre of the institution.
He said: “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.
“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 compared to where we are coming from, when bombs were exploding in the United Nations headquarters and everywhere, the situation has changed substantially.
“The lecture is about the role of Nigerian Air Force in resolving the internal security challenges facing Nigeria. 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.”
He explained that 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. He added that NAF has also been providing logistics supply to the Nigerian Army.
“There are several sectors of the Army. We supply them armour, food and medicine. We evacuate wounded soldiers,” he further said.
On the emerging security threats in the South West, the CAS said the North West and North East have been relative in terms of few issues of attacks by Boko Haram insurgents, saying one could not be talking of South West in that context.
But he admitted that “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 by giving them 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.”
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, UI, Prof Kayode Adebowale, who represented the Vice Chancellor, Prof Idowu Olayinka, described the lecture as part of efforts by the institution to contribute positively to national security.
Chairman of the Board, Society for Peace Studies and Practice (SPSP), Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, who was represented by Dr. Nathaniel Danjibo, national president of SPSP, said the lecture was timely.