Buhari: How we restored confidence in our security forces
•CAS Lauds Ugwuanyi, Makinde Over Support
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said that his administration has within the last few years restored confidence, and respect in the nation’s security forces through the huge investment made in the procurement of military hardwares, training, research and innovations.
Speaking at the grand finale of the 59th anniversary of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), held at the Air Force Base in Enugu, the president stated that he had done this by prioritising the revitalisation of professionalism to enable NAF to effectively discharge its responsibilities, and ensured substantial investments in acquiring new platforms and other support equipment for the military and other security agencies, as well as reactivating and upgrading other existing platforms.
He said: “In the last four years, the administration acquired new air platforms for the Nigeria Air Force such as the GS17, A29 Super Tucano Aircraft, the Diamond 62 aircraft; T129 Attack Helicopter, Multi-roller Fighter Aircraft, Beechcraft and unmanned aerial systems, and we have just commissioned two of those platforms that were purchased earlier by this administration.
“The Air Force has also reactivated several aircraft and it is worthy of note that the procurement process for military hardware has been reviewed to remove inefficiency and introduce transparency. For example, the procurement of the purchase of the four Super Tucano aircraft in 2018 was done through a transparent, first-of-its-kind government-to-government deal with the United States.
Represented by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari expressed delight that the huge investment in capacity development of the NAF has helped to turn the tide in the fight against terrorism, and violence by non-state actors in our nation.
“We must also commend the renewed focus on research and innovation of the Chief of the Staff. This is far-sighted and doing creative work in trying to strengthen our Air Force in various ways. It is also an important component in the development of our military for Nigeria and the armed forces in general.
“I am pleased to note that we are seeing an air force that is increasingly confident about its ability and its capability to innovate and deploy locally developed technology and this is manifesting in various ways from the locally developed operational unmanned aerial vehicle, which the president formally inducted into the service in February 2018, to this collaborative works being done at the Air Force Research and Development Centre, in Kaduna to produce the first-ever made-in-Nigeria aircraft.
Of course, this must be situated within the general context of greater emphasis on local capacity building by the Nigerian Armed Forces, the development of establishment of the Nigerian Army University, and the revitalisation of the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) serving as testaments to those renewed emphasis”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Amao, has applauded Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, of Enugu State for his immense support and good disposition towards the Nigerian Air Force in Enugu, just as he appreciated the people of the state, especially host communities for living in harmony with the NAF.
Air Marshal Amao, in a welcome address at the equally lauded Governor Makinde of Oyo State for facilitating and sponsoring the air show/aerial display at the event, stressing that he has also been supportive of the Nigerian Air Force.
In his remarks, Ugwuanyi who congratulated the NAF on the anniversary, expressed delight at the choice of Enugu, adding that the celebration will open the frontiers for many other fruitful engagements between the state and the service.
He lauded the professionalism with which the NAF executes its mandate, as well as the operational successes it has recorded in several troubled spots across the country.