We have restored confidence in our security forces –Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said that his administration has restored the confidence of the nation’s security forces through huge investment in military hardware and training.

He claimed that his administration was able to revitalise the Nigerian Armed Forces and that, in keeping with his promise to prioritise the restoration of professionalism in the military in order for them to effectively discharge their responsibilities, he had made significant investments in acquiring new platforms and other support equipment for the military and other security agencies.

Speaking through Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the grand finale of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) 59th Anniversary celebration in Enugu, the president expressed satisfaction with the current performance of the Nigerian Armed Forces, saying that massive expenditures were paying off.

He said: “As a country we are proud that in less than four years, we’ve been able to revitalize our armed forces and in keeping with his promise that as the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, he will prioritise the restoration of professionalism in the military to enable them effectively discharge their responsibilities, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari ensured that substantial investments have been made in acquiring new platforms and other support equipment for the military and other security agencies as well as reactivating and upgrading existing platforms.”

Narrowing down to the NAF, he noted that the Air Force by its performances so far and the displays at the ceremony had demonstrated its commitment to achieving high standard of operational readiness, adding, “indeed our Air Force is willing, able and ready.”

Continuing, he said: “Once again I salute the resolve of our armed forces and the invaluable contributions of other security agencies in fully containing the security challenges in some parts of our nation. Especially, the contributions of the Nigerian Air Force in addressing the security challenges of armed banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping in the North West and the North Central. Your efforts in conjunction with other security agencies have started to yield positive results, well done indeed.

“But let us never lose sight of the reason for our existence as the military component of government. It is, that the security and wellbeing of our people is an irreducible minimum and the chief responsibility of all legitimate government.

“I therefore charge you to continue to work to earn the confidence of the nation and the respect of the international community as you protect lives and property, neutralizing all existing and emerging national security threats.

“I like to urge the greater cooperation and mutual trust between the various arms of the Armed Force even while maintaining the healthy spirit of competition that under pins innovation and increase efficiency.”

Thanking Nigerians for coming together as united and determined people irrespective of parochial affliction to partner with the armed forces in the war against terror and insurgency, the President said, “We are currently in the stabilization, reconstruction and resettlement phase of the overall efforts in the North East and we’ll continue to solicit your support and understanding until terrorism and the activities of armed criminals of whatever description are completely eradicated.”   

While commending the CAS and his team for the commendable leadership that they have shown, he stressed that as the air arm of the armed forces, the Nigerian Air Force had shown that despite its challenges, in terms of the quality of manpower, talents, creativity and capability, it would stand shoulder to shoulder with the very best in the world.

“In the last four years the administration acquired new air platforms for the Nigerian Air Force such as the GF17 Thunder Multi-roll Fighter aircraft, the A29 Super Tucano aircraft, the Diamond 62 aircraft and the T129 Attack helicopter, Beachcraft and the unmanned area systems, and we have just commissioned two of those platforms that have been purchased earlier by this administration,” the President added.

Commending NAF for reactivating several aircrafts, he noted that the procurement process for military hardware has been reviewed to remove inefficiency and to introduce transparency, stressing that the procurement process of the 12 Super Tucano aircrafts in 2018 was done through transparent “government to government deal” with the USA.

He said the huge investment in the capacity development of NAF “has helped to turn the tide against terrorists and other violent non state actors in our nation.”

On the CAS new focus on research and innovation and self-reliance, the President said, “We are seeing an Air Force that is increasingly confident about its ability and its capability to innovate and to deploy locally developed technology.”

He however, charged NAF to strive to expand its collaboration outside the military, such as collaboration with the academia, with think tanks, civilian technology, hubs and independent innovators and creators.    

Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, his Oyo State counterpart, Engr. Seyi Makinde, the Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (South)  Amb. Taofeek Arapaja, and the PDP National Vice Chairman (South East), Chief Ali Odefa, during the weekend attended some of the events marking the 59th anniversary celebration of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) held at the Air Force Base, Emene, Enugu.

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, delightfully received Ugwuanyi, Makinde and the other dignitaries.

Some of the activities witnessed by Governor Ugwuanyi and others were aerial display and gala night/award of prizes.

In his welcome address, Air Marshal Amao on behalf of the Nigerian Air Force welcomed the governors and other dignitaries.

The Chief of the Air Staff applauded the host and Guest of Honour, Governor Ugwuanyi for his immense support and good disposition to the Nigerian Air Force in Enugu. He also appreciated the people of the state especially the host communities for living in harmony with the NAF.

Air Marshal Amao 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 speech, Ugwuanyi congratulated the Nigerian Air Force on its 59th anniversary celebration and expressed delight at the choice of Enugu as the venue for the national event.

The governor said he is hopeful that the celebration in Enugu will open the frontiers for many other fruitful engagements between the state and the Nigerian Air Force.