By Haruna Salami
The Chairman Senate Committee on Nigerian Air Force, Bala Na’Allah has given reasons why the menace of banditry, kidnapping and other crimes have defied all efforts to bring the to and end.
Speaking with journalists after presenting the budget of NAF to the main Appropriation Committee Tuesday he said “kidnapping and banditry in Nigeria have defied this intervention for a number of reasons. One, you know, it’s not that you have an enemy on the other side you are fighting where you can say, okay, I will take the fight to his place and finish him. These are things that come intermittently from somewhere.
“I do know that from my limited knowledge of security intervention, the nature, and character of a crime to a larger extent, will determine the control strategy.
He was of the opinion that this fight has to do, more by “empowering the police who are on ground to ensure that these areas are effectively secured. Like I have said there is nothing that prevents the Nigerian police from getting some of these sophisticated vehicles and then to be doing surveillance on those road so that they themselves can become victims and then they will now know how to take care.
“But it is not nice that it is only when it happens that they rush there and then the kidnappers are gone. What I was thinking was that if there is a coordinated effort that the police will report that, there is an incidence in this location and then an aircraft will continue, since it is during the daytime to hover around those people because they cannot be faster than an aircraft.
He said while the plane is hovering, the police should be able to have an idea of where those bandits or kidnappers are, and then some helicopter intervention can help.
“This is our own thinking from the ordinary man’s understanding, but from their professional understanding, they might be pursuing another course. In the end, what Nigerians are interested in is the result.
“We want a secure nation. We want a nation where everyone can go about his normal business without let or hindrance and will continue to pray that the security agents that have done their best so far will do more to ensure that this agitations and expectations by Nigerians are met.
According to him, most of the equipment that Air Force needs, are not issues that you can pick on the shelves.
Therefore, the budgeting system that requires the Air Force to go to through the budget of the National Assembly may not necessarily be a comfort intervention in view of what we are facing today as a country.
While commending President Buhari for at least intervening through the supplementary budget in outgoing year, he ssid “it’s important that something more is done to assist the Nigerian Air Force to face the challenges it is facing.
Speaking on fighting kidnapping and banditry, Na’Allah said he has always said it is one thing to have the equipment, it is another thing to use the equipment for the purpose of facing the challenges that we have.
On the Air Force Institute, Kaduna, Na’Allah, himself a pilot by profession said the Institute has not been given any takeoff grant, “but it is research institution that has been elevated to a university standard.
“It is only fair that Nigerians can rely upon it for some of these innovations that we are going outside to buy by investing heavily inside so that we begin to have local products for the purpose of meeting our local challenges”.
Although he was very careful not to give details of the budget for security reasons, he said it is important that “Nigeria with a population of over 200 million deserves the Air Force that is well funded”, adding, “there has been consistent complaint about the paucity of funds to enable the Air Force get the desired platforms to face the challenges we are facing”.