By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) has indicated interest to collaborate with the Pakistan Armed Forces (PAF) in the area of defence capabilities to further boost its operations. The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, stated this when he hosted the Pakistan Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (PCJCSC), General Nadeem Raza, in Abuja on Thursday.
The CDS stated that the AFN under his watch would further strengthen the long existing strategic partnership with its Pakistani counterpart on human capacity building, acquisition of military platform and modern communication gadgets. According to Gen Irabor, “Pakistan stands a good ground for us (AFN) to improve on our defence capabilities”
The CDS reiterated the commitment of the AFN towards partnering with both foreign and regional allies in order to build capacity of its personnel towards meeting the various security threats.
The Pakistani defence chief said he was in Nigeria to seek ways on how to further deepen the scope of the defence cooperation between Pakistan Armed Forces and its Nigerian counterpart.
Gen Raza said that AFN and PAF could also collaborate in the area of defence production capabilities which include manufacturing of armoured tanks, small arms and ammunition, communication equipment amongst others.
Gen Raza added that there was need for both Armed Forces to share their individual experiences in the fight against terrorism which according to him, Nigeria and Pakistan were faced with peculiar security challenges. He reiterated that the PAF will continue to support the AFN in all areas of endeavours aimed at surmounting insecurity.
Meanwhile, Raza has described Nigeria as the most important country in African and his country is seeking collaboration with the Nigerian Army in the areas of defence cooperation, training and equipment.
stated this during a courtesy visit to the Army Headquarters, Abuja on Thursday.
While appreciating the Nigerian army for remaining resolute in the face of an unconventional war against home grown-terrorism, he said there is a lot the two countries can learn from each other.
Responding, the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Faruk Yahaya appreciated the delegation for the visit and stated that the Nigerian army wants collaboration with the Pakistani army in areas of Improvised Explosive Dives (IEDs), especially in the North East which has been a major areas of concern to the Nigerian army.
General Yahaya also wants to leverage on the existing relationship with Pakistan Army in areas including “training of special forces, army aviation training to give close and tactical air support to land forces, capacity building, production of equipments and Artillery training”.
He pointed out that several officers of the Nigerian Army have trained in Pakistan and expressed hope that such collaboration would continue.