President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the military service chiefs to be decisive in dealing with terrorists and ending the insurgency in the North-east without further delay.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao, who spoke on the presidential directive during a visit to Maiduguri, said the president routed the order through the Chief of Defence Staff, Maj.Gen. Lucky Irabor, for them to come up with new strategies to rout the insurgents.
He stated that he has had meetings with the other service chiefs leading to the continuing tour of military formations in the North-east, including Sector 3 Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD) and the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
Amao, during his visit to the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri, said: “Mr. President had given the Chief of Defence Staff, along with the service chiefs, the onerous task of bringing the war against insurgency to a decisive end in order to restore normalcy to all troubled parts of the country.”
He stated that they had already begun to “take action in this regard, holding several meetings to evolve strategies for better synergy in the joint operations.”
According to him, in line with the president’s mandate as well as the defence minister’s strategic guidance, he has crafted his vision for the service, which is “to enhance and sustain critical airpower capabilities required for joint force deployment in pursuit of national security imperatives.”
He added that the vision is hinged on five key drivers which include “focus on doctrinal development and application of airpower in joint military operations, pursuit of purposeful training and human capacity development as well as sustenance of platforms and equipment serviceability through innovative maintenance methods and logistics support systems.
He listed other key drivers as “fostering a disciplined workforce essential for combat readiness and bolstering morale by improving personnel welfare.”
Amao, therefore, charged all personnel to do their own bit towards the attainment of the noble objective.
He said the focus on joint doctrinal development is premised on the need to evolve new ways of doing things in order to achieve better and longer-lasting results. He stated that in terms of pursuing purposeful training and human capacity development, the service will sustain and build on the capacity building initiatives of his predecessor while ensuring that training will be robust and balanced.
Amao also said in sustaining platforms’ serviceability, the service will continue to leverage on the acquisition of new platforms while ensuring effective maintenance of existing ones.
He said in addition to the 23 new aircraft the federal government acquired for the air force, 15 additional new manned aircraft – 12 A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft and three JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter jets – as well as eight new Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) were also being expected.
He noted that the additional new aircraft will add value to operations in the North-east and other operational theatres.
Amao also addressed personnel during his maiden operational visit to the ATF Headquarters in Maiduguri and the 171 Nigerian Air Force Detachment (171 NAF Det) in Monguno to assess the conduct of the counterinsurgency operation as well as inspect facilities and ongoing projects.
Amao, in company with the Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, commended the ATF for the recent successes recorded in the renewed offensive by the land and air components of OPLD.
He stated that the NAF headquarters will continue to provide all necessary support to ensure “the sustenance of critical airpower capabilities required for joint force employment in pursuit of national security imperatives.”
On welfare issues, Amao said in line with the president’s mandate to ensure adequate welfare of all personnel, his administration will give priority to the provision of equipment, uniforms and kits, while ensuring the prompt payment of allowances and provision of residential accommodation for both serving and retired officers.
He commended the ATF commander as well as his officers, airmen and airwomen for their hard work and dedication to duty, as evident in the intensive rate of effort with missions being conducted day and night to attack terrorists’ targets as well as provide support to ground troops, whenever required.
He called for the strengthening of the synergy with the army and other security agencies to ensure total victory.