The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, has called on the people of South-western region of the nation to supply the military with relevant information to fight recent insecurity confronting the region head long.
He said this could be done through provision of information about their environment and neighbourhood to the security operatives, stressing that security of lives and property is not for the military alone to tackle but for everyone.
The Air Marshall gave the charge on Monday while speaking with journalists after delivering the 2nd Distinguished Personality Lecture at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, Ibadan.
The event themed: “Roles of the Nigerian Air Force in Internal Security Operations in Nigeria”, was organised by the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies (IPSS) of UI.
He said “the Boko Haram insurgency is substantially degraded. 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 a daily basis and I can tell you that they have been substantially degraded. They are not being able to come out as a force again.
“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 as compared to where we are coming from, when bombs were exploding in 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.
“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.
“We have also been providing logistic supply for the Nigerian Army. There are several sectors of the Army. We supply them armoury, food and medicine and we evacuate wounded soldiers.”
“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 and give 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”, he said.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of UI, Professor Idowu Olayinka who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof Kayode Adebowale, said the lecture was part of efforts by the institution to contribute positively to national security, by bringing stakeholders to brainstorm and proffer solutions to the issues and challenges facing the country.
In his welcome address, the Director of IPSS, UI, Prof Tajudeen Akanji, noted that the choice of Abubakar for the lecture was deliberate, saying: “the changing nature of internal security operations in the security sector, particularly in Nigeria has revealed the increased strategic importance of the Nigerian Air Force in the prosecution of the various operations.
“We have witnessed the contribution of the leadership style of the CAS in the success attained so far in the Boko Haram operations. Credence to this was reported in 2018 global terrorism report.
“However, new emerging threats are calling for more action from the security agencies, especially the Air Force. We do hope this lecture will provide an agenda for more research on the institute.”