The Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, says robust collaboration amongst security agencies has boosted the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the North-East and other parts of the country.
Gabkwet made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
He noted that since the new Service Chiefs came on board, Nigerians had witnessed a renew vigour, synergy and efforts in tackling the mirage of security challenges facing the country.
He attributed this to the resolve of the three services and others to subordinate themselves under the leadership of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), and the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), in which the DHQ takes the lead in all joint operations.
According to him, they all harped on the essence of jointness of operations, joint force employment and it is clear that the operations that have taken place so far have all been atuned to their visions.
“This is why the coordination had become much better. Now you have a single unified joint task commander and of course, the other joint services bring in their component commanders but takes order from the joint task commander.
“Irrespective of the service they represent, they bring their platforms under the command and control of the joint task commander who uses them the way to better achieve the aim of defeating the insurgents and others.
“In short, we have never had such a synergy before that is the reason why the coordination has been better and we have been hitting our targets decisively.
“Precisely, for the last two months, the level at which we have been decimating the insurgents is just too accurate and that is what happen when you bring all your efforts under one umbrella.”
Gabkwet, however, recalled that on June 27, the NAF provided close air support to the ground troops at Bulayobe and in that operations, the troops destroyed three gun trucks and neutralised so many insurgents.
This, he said, prevented the insurgents from overrunning the localities as well as the military locations in such areas.
“This does not happen in the past. Gone were the days when you heard that the insurgents overrun some localities and even the military base, but today, I can assure you that such can no longer happen.
“This is something Nigerians should be happy and proud about. No competition whatsoever among the services. There is only one trophy and that trophy is that we keep the country safe and its citizens to enable them go about their normal life without fear.”
The director also noted that since the new Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, came on board, his vision was to enhance and sustain critical airpower capabilities required for joint force employment in pursuit of national security imperatives.
“Looking at that vision itself, you will see that there is a very serious emphasis on joint force employment in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the North-East and other parts of the country.
“Through this new level of cooperation, no doubt that the insurgency in the North-East and other parts of the country have been seriously disseminated, particularly in the last two months.
“So, clearly, it means they have been working together and they are more coordinated and the right energy is being channeled in the right direction.
“Just recently, the air and ground troops were able to neutralise over 30 insurgents along Maiduguri-Damaturu road, the feat is as a result of combined efforts, in which NAF provided close air support for the ground troops.”
Gabkwet also acknowledged the fact that the synergy was really yielding positive results, as so many insurgents and other criminal elements threatening the peace of the country had been seriously disseminated.
He promised that the NAF, in collaboration with other services, would continue to maintain the momentum to really achieve the set goal.
The director recalled that in June, NAF took delivery of three Jet 17 aircraft from Pakistan, adding that in the next one month, the service will also take delivery of the first batch of six Super Tucano aircraft from the U.S.
According to him, the second batch, which is also six in number, would be delivered to the country latest by October.
“So, with these platforms coming on board, and others that had been refurbished and brought back to life, NAF will continue to remain a critical aspect of the ongoing fight against the enemies of the country.
“And working in synergy with the Nigerian Army, the Navy and others, and with the almighty God by our side, the war will soon be a thing of the past,” he said. (NAN)