The United States (U.S.) has accepted to sell one of its A29 Super Tucano aircraft to the Federal Government to boost the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the North East. The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, presented the Letters of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar on behalf of the Federal Government.
A statement signed by NAF's Spokesman, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya in Abuja, yesterday said the LOA represents the official U.S. Government offer to sell U.S. defence articles and services to the Nigerian government.
While presenting the LOA to Abubakar, at NAF Headquarters in Abuja, the U.S. Ambassador noted that peaceful existence in Nigeria was strategic to the security of the entire West African sub-region in particular and the entire world at large.
Ambassador Symington expressed the commitment of the U.S. government to helping Nigeria completely defeat the Boko Haram terrorists and also eliminate all forms of terrorism from its territory.He, however, conveyed the U.S. Government's belief that the capacity of the NAF could greatly be enhanced by the acquisition of the Super Tucano Aircraft, adding that "the U.S. would therefore continue to support the NAF in its capacity building efforts, including the timely supply of needed aircraft spares."
The Ambassador also indicated the readiness of relevant officials to work with NAF officials to facilitate the early delivery of the aircraft once payment had been made, adding that both countries would be meeting in early January 2018 to jointly study the LOA prior to subsequent endorsements by both parties.
Abubakar expressed the appreciation to the U.S. for its steady support towards sustaining NAF air operations.The CAS said that the NAF would nominate and prepare all the pilots and maintenance crew to be trained on the Super Tucano Aircraft, ahead of their training in the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) said its senior military officers celebrated this year's Christmas with officers, airmen/airwomen of the Air Task Force, on Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri yesterday. A statement signed by NAF's spokesman, Air Vice Marshal, Olatokunbo Adesanya said the team of senior NAF officers was led by the Chief of Policy and Plans at HQ NAF, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Muhammadu Mohammed, who represented the Chief of the Air Staff.
At the celebrations, the CAS said "we have come to celebrate this year's Christmas with our officers and men who are making the Air Force proud in the on-going fight against insurgency." He urged the personnel to continue to work together. towards speedily bringing the insurgency to an end.
In a related development, the NAF also airlifted the Theatre Commander and some senior officers from the Army Headquarters (AHQ) to Gwoza to celebrate Christmas with the ground troops.
In another development, the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) Coordinatior of Civilian JTF/Vigilante, Mr. Matthew Alao has said that the UNDP spent over N469 million from 2014 to 2015 to empower the youths and women in the Northeast of Nigeria.Alao disclosed this at the closing ceremony of Course SH: 1065 for Civilian JTF drawn from Borno and Yobe states. He explained that the training became necessary especially when the military had almost seen the end of Boko Haram.
He stated that the training is meant to equip them to fend for themselves after the insurgency because Nigeria will be sitting on a time-break if they are left uncatered for after fighting the Boko Haram.
Alao said their training was very instructive so that they do not constitute a threat to the society at the end of the day.The Unit Coordinator, Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre, Mountain School, Shere Hills, Jos, Mallam Abdulmumuni Maimako, said that the capacity building for the civilian JTF training commenced on December 10, 2017 and ended on December 23.