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Insecurity: Air Force shakes-up top echelons, Osinbajo seeks arms production, improved strategy

By Terhemba Daka and Odita Sunday, Abuja
05 August 2022   |   2:39 am
Barely 48 hours after directing Nigerian Air Force (NAF) operational and air component commanders to boost firepower against terrorists, Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao

[FILES] Osinbajo. Photo/facebook/Asorock

Barely 48 hours after directing Nigerian Air Force (NAF) operational and air component commanders to boost firepower against terrorists, Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, has approved immediate appointment and redeployment of new Branch Chiefs, Air Officers Commanding (AOCs) and other senior officers.

The officers are expected to assume their new offices latest today.

Amao also reminded them of the need to continually seek effective means of deploying resources at their disposals in line with reviewed NAF counterterrorism and counterinsurgency strategy.

This was as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said current security challenges and emerging threats require the military and other stakeholders to be steps ahead of perpetrators while also boosting local arms production.

Osinbajo spoke in Abuja, following a presentation on ‘Defence Transformation and National Security: Strategic Options for Nigeria of the Future,’ by National Defence College Course 30 participants, late Wednesday.

During the virtual interaction, the Vice President said: “If you look at the challenges we are facing and the nature of those challenges, it is evident that we need to be many steps ahead of non-state actors, in particular, who are perpetrators of this asymmetric warfare we are experiencing.”

AIR Force spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, who made the disclosure, said the Branch Chiefs are: Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Jackson Yusuf, formerly Chief of Training and Operations (CTOP), who is now Chief of Policy and Plans (COPP) Headquarters NAF (HQ NAF), Abuja; AVM Oluwafemi Ogunmola, former Director of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance, now Chief of Communications Information Systems (CCIS), HQ NAF; AVM Aliyu Bello, former Chief of Standards and Evaluation (COSE), now redeployed as CTOP, HQ NAF, Abuja, while AVM Nkem Aguiyi takes over as Chief of Air Intelligence (CAI) and AVM Hassan Abubakar, former AOC Logistics Command is now Chief of Standards and Evaluation.

In the same vein, the erstwhile COPP, AVM Charles Ohwo, is now Chief of Defence Transformation and Innovation, Defence Headquarters (DHQ), Abuja; AVM Abubakar Liman, former CAI is now Director of Space Utilisation, DHQ; AVM Hycinth Eze, former Group Managing Director (GMD) NAF Holding Company, takes over as Director of Production, DHQ; AVM Musa Muktar takes over as GMD NAF Holding Company, while AVM Raimi Salami, erstwhile CCIS is now Director of Strategy, DHQ.

The newly appointed AOCs are: AVM Precious Amadi, AOC Tactical Air Command (TAC), Makurdi; AVM Abubakar Abdulkadir, AOC Special Operations Command (SOC), Bauchi; AVM Nnamdi Ananaba, AOC Air Training Command (ATC), Kaduna, while AVM Emmanuel Shobande takes over as AOC Logistics Command (LC), Lagos.

OSINBAJO told the National Defence College Course 30 participants: “It is clear that given current realities in our security situation, there is absolutely every need for us to fast-forward all our plans for the future, so that we can be much more effective in dealing with the current threats and the threats we will experience as we go into the future.

“One of the most critical areas is the question of local production of military hardware. And I think it is a low-hanging fruit when it comes to manufacturing some of the hardware we will need. I think there is a need, especially now, to really look very closely at local production of our hardware, beginning with armament.”

The Vice President, while making a case for improved investment in Defence Industries Corporation (DICON), said: “Every country of the world takes advantage (in my view) of the crisis situation that it faces.”

According to him, “we mentioned India, Brazil, and even the more developed economies of the world during the First and Second World Wars. It was these challenges that led to the development of their military-industrial complexes. We have a challenge today. There are so many zones where there are conflicts. Our law enforcement is spread out everywhere.”

Commending the course participants for proposing innovations in the defence sector, Osinbajo emphasised the urgency of local production of arms.

“If we say the local companies should produce some of the mobile platforms, like Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and Multi-Role Armoured Vehicles (MRAV), if we give them the contracts, they will produce. But if we choose to import, rather than produce locally, then we will never develop our military-industrial complex.”

The Vice President also spoke of the need for transparency in the management of resources meant for the acquisition of hardware for defence and security agencies.

“There needs to be more accountability because every time you hear, ‘We don’t have enough equipment.’ But there must be accountability. I will like to see a framework for greater accountability within the Ministry of Defence that ensures they are able to account for military expenditure,” he said.

Earlier, on behalf of the Course 30 participants, Col. A. A. Adamu, proposed, among other things, restructuring the Ministry of Defence to reflect contemporary challenges as well as contain emerging threats.

He also highlighted the enhancement of Nigeria’s defence production capacity, leveraging technology and improving collaboration within and across Africa.

Adamu, on behalf of the participants and management of the National Defence College, also prayed for the speedy recovery of the Vice President who is still recuperating, while thanking him for the opportunity to make the presentation.

Other officials present at the event included Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo; Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Adm. Murtala Bashir, and representative of the Inspector General of Police, among other senior officers from the college.