The Air Chief of Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar, said that the elements of Boko Haram had been severely decimated by young Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Special Forces officers and men.
Abubakar was speaking at a joint graduation ceremony on Saturday for 676 Air Force officers and men from five special forces training sessions at the Regiment Training Centre in Kaduna.
The Air Force can now boast of sufficient trained men who are capable of protecting the air properties, Air Marshal Abubakar said.
He emphasized that, as they did in Maiduguri in 2013, Boko Haram and other criminal elements no longer have the capacity to attack the Air Force base.
Although stressing the importance to the national security of the safety of air assets, the Chief of Air Staff claimed that the Air Force can only defend Nigeria if its assets can be properly protected.
He said, “We focus on the training of elements of the Special Forces because we can not give what we do not have.”
“Today, because of the training they have obtained, our young officers and men are making it difficult for Boko Haram to function openly.
Our special forces are doing an outstanding job and the best way to learn is through the success of the staff of the regiment deployed to the different combat areas. Look at the ones defending our bases.
In December 2013, our base in Maiduguri was targeted, but nobody is going to try that today because we have all the skills and what it takes to protect our bases.
That is one strong indicator that there is a good standard of training.
Apart from that, we have deployed the excess capabilities we have in some of the conflict areas to support internal security operations; we have over 300 Special Forces components in Operation Whirl Stroke in Benue, and that has helped keep the Benue State calm.
At a time when coffins were only displayed every day, today, by the grace of God and the hard work of this squad, including our own Special Forces, the place is normally quiet. In Agatu, which was a war region, we have them.
We have another team in Taraba State, dealing with internal security and keeping close eyes and working with the Army and other security agencies to ensure the repulsion of the Ambazonian men who might want to infiltrate our country.
“We also have over 300 Special Forces operating hand in hand with other security agencies in Zamfara State. They make sure they clear up the bandits there who are causing trouble.
In reality, with the results we are receiving, so many nations are now showing interest in training their troops as Special Forces here.
The Air Chief said, “So, we’re doing well and we’re going to consolidate on that.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Air Vice Marshal Idi Amin, Air Officer Commanding Ground Training Command, said a total of 676 students comprising 3 Basic Regiment Officers Course students, 40 Regimental Sergeant Major Course students, 55 Advanced Regiment Airmen/Airwomen Course students, 114 Intermediate Regiment Airmen/Airwomen Course students, and 464 Basic Regiments students.
He said all the above courses were also trained in Force Defense in Complex Air Ground Setting (FP-CAGE), with the exception of the Regimental Sergeant Major Course, a kit that he said was previously managed by the British Military Advice and Training Team (BMATT).
He disclosed, however, that 14 students did not graduate, adding that “three were withdrawn for medical reasons, nine were withdrawn for disciplinary reasons, while two failed the course.”