By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar has charged Officers, airmen/airwomen and civilian staff to remain professional and rid the nation of all elements that threaten the security of the citizenry.
In his new year message on Wednesday, the CAS hoped that the year, which marks the beginning of a New Decade, will bring fulfilment, happiness and prosperity to you and their families.
“The Nation owes you a debt of gratitude for your hard work, patriotism and selfless sacrifices made towards ensuring the security of Nigeria and Nigerians,” the CAS said.
“Over the past few years, the NAF, along with sister Services and other security agencies, has been involved in a number of Internal Security Operations across the country. These include: Operations SAFE HAVEN and WHIRL STROKE in the North Central; AWATSE in the South West, HADARIN DAJI in the North West, DELTA SAFE in the South-South and LAFIYA DOLE in the North East. It is gratifying to note that, due to your various efforts as well as those of your colleagues in other security agencies, relative peace has been restored to most parts of the North-Central States.
“Similarly, the activities of pipeline vandals and other criminals in the South-South and South West have been curtailed significantly. Accordingly, the notable gains have given rise to the directives for the NAF and sister Services to gradually scale down involvement in some of these operations. The operations in the North West are also yielding tangible fruits with a gradual reduction in banditry due to effective kinetic operations in early 2019 that paved way for Governors in the region to engage the bandits in dialogue with a view to sustainably achieving peaceful resolution of the security challenges.
“In the North East, the heightened intensity of kinetic air and ground operations dealt decisive blows on the terrorists during the out-gone year. In this wise, the NAF sustained its vital air interdiction missions, as evidenced in the recent Operation RATTLE SNAKE, which recorded significant successes in neutralizing terrorists’ camps and logistics facilities. Moreover, we also continued to provide Close Air Support, whilst sustaining other combat and combat support roles which shaped the battlespace for effective ground operations. The recent decisive victories over the terrorists at Damaturu in Yobe State and Mallam Fatori in Borno State, amongst others, are evidences of the tremendous results that synergistic air and ground operations can produce.
“It must be emphasised, that none of the aforementioned successes would have been possible without your courage, commitment and dedication to duty, for which I once more express my sincere commendation. This notwithstanding, I charge you all not to rest on your laurels, as much still needs to be done to rid our beloved Nation of all elements that threaten the security of the citizenry.
“Accordingly, you will need to re-double your efforts whilst ramping up the pressure on the criminal elements and sustaining the relentless onslaught against the terrorists and insurgents. You must nevertheless remain professional in the discharge of your duties and ensure that the rights of all law-abiding citizens are protected to enable them go about their lawful activities without encumbrances.
“You must be buoyed by the immense support and enabling environment created by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, which have enabled the NAF to be more effective and efficient in the discharge of its duties. Through this support, the Service has sustained its efforts to enhance its aircraft holding, through acquisition of new platforms and reactivation of existing ones. We have also continued to raise the standard of professionalism through result-oriented training whilst also improving on personnel welfare and sustaining the tempo of our Research and Development for enhanced self-reliance and operational effectiveness.
“In view of the foregoing, I believe that the Year 2020, while undoubtedly having its fair share of challenges and possibilities, will be a landmark year for the NAF. We must therefore gear up to make the most of the possibilities for greater service delivery, whilst leveraging our collective resolve to surmount the inherent challenges. I also enjoin all NAF personnel to march into the future with the rugged determination for which we are known. The Nigerian people deserve this and more from us. We must therefore give our wholehearted commitment to the fight against all enemies of this great Nation, remembering that “in the race to add value to our society and secure our communities, there is no finishing line.”