Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the Chief of Air Staff said the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has trained more than 3,600 personnel in force protection.
He said that the training was aimed at tackling the evolving security challenges in the country.
Abubakar, who made this known during the opening ceremony of the Base Defence Seminar 2019 on Tuesday in Abuja said this covered the period of 2015 to date.
He said that the personnel were drawn from the Regiment, Intelligence and Air Police specialties in force protection and in complex air ground environment with the assistance of the British Military Advisory Training Team from 2015 to date.
Represented by AVM Emmanuel Anebi, the Chief of Policy and Plans Headquarters NAF, Abubakar described the theme of the seminar: “Enhancing Force Protection of NAF Bases for Effective Force Projection” as “appropriate”.
“ This training has ensured that we develop Base Defence plans tailored to the diverse human and physical environments where our bases are located.
“I am pleased that this seminar will see us consolidate on the effective approach which we have developed.
“ In view of the evolving security environment, it is obligatory that we further enhance our defence to neutralise contemporary future threats, to the nation’s interests as well as security of our bases.
“ The ongoing situation, therefore, requires an integrated/coordinated approach from all base and independent unit commanders.
“Hence, field commanders are now required to continuously appraise developments in their areas of operations and take proactive measures necessary to defend NAF assets in there,” Abubakar said.
Abubakar said that the new Base Defence concept was a departure from the traditional mode of static base defence being highly mobile in nature and had been fully implemented in some front line bases.
He said that the NAF had been able to prevent incursions into its bases “ since these innovations in Base Defence were implemented”.
The CAS said that the NAF currently had a Quick Response Force, four Quick Response Groups and two Quick Response Wings under the Special Operations Command spread over the six geo-political zones.
“It was therefore, imperative to beef up the manpower of the Regiment to meet the manning requirements of this transformation. As a result, the Regiment has seen a recent increase in its strength from 1,300 to more than 4,000.
“ Furthermore, our combat troops are being issued mission essential kits and equipment to enhance their capability in neutralising envisaged threats.
“ Some of the equipment include latest assault rifles such as the AK103 and tavor as well as thermal imagers, night vision goggles and armoured fighting vehicles,’’ he said.
Abubakar said the collaboration of the Air Police and Intelligence with the Regiment culminated in an integrated detection and response system, adding ” thus making the Base Defence Concept mobile and tiered (external, perimeter and inner defences) in nature to enable it counter threats through offensive action.
“ This will help us checkmate possible occurrences such as the 2011 attack on Air Force Comprehensive School (AFCS), Kano and the December 2013 attack on NAF Base Maiduguri, which resulted in the loss of lives, platforms and other mission essential assets.
“ There was therefore the need to review past method previously employed in our base defences. Consequently, the current concept was developed in 2015 and ratified in 2017 under my watch,” he said.
Abubakar charged commanders to invoke an understanding of what the Base Defence Concept was all about with a view to implementing the seminar resolutions at their various locations.
On the elections, he congratulated personnel for making the NAF proud during the successful presidential and national assembly elections.
“I charge you to ensure that all officers and airmen under your command remain nonpartisan during the next round of elections,” he said.
Earlier, AVM Isiaka Amao, the Chief of Training and Operations, who equally described the theme of the seminar as “apt and appropriate”, thanked Abubakar for bringing the initiative to reality.
He said that the NAF recently developed and operationalised a Base Defence Concept that emphasises integrated detection and response by leveraging trained manpower, intelligence and emplacement of appropriate technology.
“ Currently, the concept has been successfully implemented in frontline Bases in Maiduguri, Yola, Bauchi and Port Harcourt with the leadership desiring to do same in the remaining Air Force Bases,” he said. (NAN)