President Muhammadu Buhari, has assured the military that he will continue to ensure appropriate funding for Nigeria’s armed forces, in order to enhance capacity building and deepen professionalism.
The President gave the assurance on Monday, at the opening ceremony of the maiden edition of the Nigerian Air Force International Air Power Seminar in Abuja, with the theme “Air Power in Irregular Warfare: A Framework for Understanding and Responding”.
President Buhari announced, that his administration will continue to support the drive to modernize the armed forces through enhanced budgetary allocation in their quest to meet the constitutional demands of protecting Nigeria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and charged the armed forces, particularly the Nigerian Air Force not to rest on its oars in fulfilling its constitutional role.
He noted that the Seminar is quite timely and necessary for armed forces like the Nigerian Air Force(NAF), to draw from the experiences of other armed forces that have either previously or are currently engaged in counter insurgency operations, and commended the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for the initiative.
He stressed that successful counterinsurgency operations would therefore require unity of efforts across multiple Ministries, Departments and Agencies covering political, economic, law enforcement, intelligence and the military, in what is popularly called whole of the nation approach.
“In this regard, we have mobilised relevant agencies and international organisations to support the counterinsurgency effort in order to ensure success. Our vision is to build a stable and prosperous Nigeria that would be the pride of future generations. It is however pertinent to note that this cannot be accomplished without peace, stability and security.
“Peace and stability can only be achieved if we are committed to emplacing reforms that will entrench true democracy in our polity” the President said.
He further noted that the Government considers it of high priority to develop the capacity of the armed forces and indeed that of all security agencies. “We are committed to enhancing the welfare of all service personnel to enable them give their utmost in their service to the nation.
“We are also committed to ensuring that our armed forces are appropriately trained and equipped to deal with the contemporary challenges of a globalised world, of which insurgency and terrorism have become of greatest concern” he remarked.
On the fight against insurgency, he emphasized that the Government remains committed to ensuring that the crisis comes to an end, while making the North East and all parts of Nigeria safe for all to live and prosper.
“let me express my profound appreciation to all the countries represented at this gathering especially our partners and friends that have contributed in one way or the other towards the success of our counterinsurgency operations”, he said.
Also speaking, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali in his opening remarks, expressed belief that the seminar will further provide new options for the Air Force, in its counterinsurgency operations based on experiences from other countries.
He added that the seminar perfectly fits into the Ministry of Defence’s vision of ensuring synergy and cooperation not just within the Services but across ministerial boundaries in support of the nations political objectives.
According to him, “With the support of the Federal Government we are doing our best to ensure optimum utilization of resources in the procurement of equipment and other resources that are required by the Services in prosecuting the counterinsurgency operations.
“We realize that none of the services can by themselves defeat an insurgency but with synergy and the right cooperation, they can help establish a secure environment within which the other counterinsurgency instruments can work successfully”.
He said that the ministry will not relent in its support for the Services, especially the Nigerian Air Force, in recognition of its vital role in the success of the ongoing counterinsurgency operations.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar stated that the changing character of warfare has imposed the need for a change in the way armed forces approach warfare.
The seminar, he said, is conceptualized to provide a forum for cross think-tank domain discussions where experienced air power practitioners and academics in related fields working in similar emerging threat environments would interact with air power practitioners of the Nigerian Air Force.
“The Nigerian Air Force wishes to leverage on the experiences of our friends and international partners to deal with the irregular threats in Nigeria and the sub-region more efficiently. We are therefore open to benefit from the experiences of both local and international subject matter experts in the field of air power, particularly as it relates to irregular warfare which has become almost pervasive in our time.
“We hope that from the experiences of our friends and partners, we will get inspiration and ideas that would help us better apply air power in our counterinsurgency operations and make us more effective and efficient in the discharge of our duty to our beloved nation” he noted.
Participating countries in the Seminar include; Jordan, Colombia, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, France, Liberia, Morocco, Guinea Bisau, Turkey, Cameroon, Niger, Kenya, Senegal, Chad and the United States of America.