Nigeria AirForce (NAF) on Thursday conducted a special counter-terrorism simulation exercise at Ipetu-Ijesha in Oriade Local Government Area of Osun State.
The Air Officer Commanding, Special Operations Command, Air Vice Marshal James Gwani, said the exercise was designed to improve the combat readiness of NAF troops.
The exercise, codenamed: ‘Buje Ekun, took place on Akure-Oshogbo road.
Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said NAF had conducted similar exercises in Kaduna, Kano and Minna in the last four months.
“The essence of these operational exercises is to ensure that NAF personnel maintain a high level of combat readiness to meet the demands of our current security challenges.
“As you are aware, this great country is experiencing various forms of security challenges across the six geo-political zones. The acts of terrorism by the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) in the Northeast as well as armed robbery and kidnappings in other parts of the nation require that we evolve new strategies to effectively and efficiently tackle these challenges, which have severe consequences on human and material resources of the nation.
“This objective, no doubt, is in tandem with our yearnings and aspiration to reposition the NAF into a highly professional and disciplined force through capacity building initiatives for effective, efficient and timely employment of air power in response to Nigeria’s national security imperatives.
“In order to ensure timely deployment of air power in response to Nigeria’s national security imperatives as well as effective and efficient administration, we considered the need for the right service structure, being an essential requirement for professionalism. This led to the establishment of the Special Operations Command as well as the creation of Quick Response units aimed at addressing the challenges of asymmetric warfare, such as the one posed by the Boko Haram terrorists and other forms of criminality thereby bridging the gap in force protection capabilities,” Abubakar said.
The Air Chief added: “The NAF equally expanded the NAF Regiment Specialty with many of these personnel trained for Force Protection in Complex Air and Ground Environment (FPCAGE).
“More so, the NAF was able to improve the strength and capacity of its Special Operation Forces (SOF) personnel to 1,000 in the last four years. These capacity development efforts have yielded positive results by equipping our personnel with the skills required to adequately protect NAF bases and critical national assets against attacks by BHTs and other criminal elements…”
Osun State Governor Gboyega Oyetola, who was a special guest of honour at the event, said: “The display of capabilities during these exercises has shown that the NAF has continued to evolve ideas to effectively tackle the menace of insurgency and other forms of armed banditry in all parts of the country.”
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Adegboyega Alabi, added: “Osun State has witnessed cases of armed banditry and kidnappings. In some instances, the victims of these vices were killed, while millions of naira is being paid in ransom to free captives. One of my key objectives as the Executive Governor of this state is to ensure that all residents conduct their legitimate activities without fear of molestation from miscreants or bandits.
“We believe that security is paramount and that no nation can progress or become prosperous without measures emplaced to ensure the adequate security of lives and property of its inhabitants. The current leadership of the NAF has demonstrated the resolve to ensure that its officers and men are capable of performing their duties.
“The essence of training and exercises of this nature for a fighting force like the NAF cannot be over emphasised. The NAF has further blazed the trail by developing and expanding the functions of its Special Operations Forces, thereby ensuring that adequate capacity is being built by engaging in exercises that evolve lessons, tactics and doctrine in the conduct of Counter-Terrorism Operations…”