.…As British Military arrive Nigeria to train 300 regiment personnel

From: Sola Ojo, Kaduna

Following the December 2013 attack on Nigeria Air Force (NAF) base in Maiduguri, Borno State, by members of Boko Haram, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Mashal Sadique Baba Abubakar, has vowed never to have a repeat in all the NAF bases across the country.

To achieve that, the CAS said in addition to efforts already put in place to avoid a repeat of destruction of air asset, a British Military Assistant Team (BMAT) was also expected in the country to train 300 regiment personnel in order to have reliable and highly skilled personnel that can protect all NAF bases in Nigeria, add value to security at airports and to assist in states where there are security challenges.

Addressing newsmen shortly after he officially commissioned some facilities for air officers training at NAF base Kaduna, on Thursday, the Air Chief disclosed that the outcome of the earlier meeting with officers of the force was essentially to review activities in the last quarter and to also see what progress they are making in terms of realising what was set to achieve in the second quarter.

Said he,  “We have identified a few gaps which we are working hard to ensure we close those gaps and transform them into something positive for our country.

“The facilities we just commissioned suppose to be for training of base defense force or critical assets protection force. You know you can have air planes, if the base is not properly defended you will still run into problems. We saw that in December 2013 when our base was attacked in Maiduguri and some air asset destroyed. We don’t want that to happen again. So, what we have been doing all the while is to build the capacity of base defense.

‘The evolving security environment globally and indeed our nation has become complex and most times unpredictable. We are faced with a myriad of security challenges ranging from terrorism to militancy, kidnapping to economic sabotage.

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“Given the importance of bases in the airpower delivery matrix, it is not inconceivable to expect our adversaries to target our bases. As a matter of fact, we have had an attack on one of our airbases in the recent past, and current intelligence reports keep highlighting the possibility of attacks on our bases.

“On assumption of office and with the need to develop a robust base defence concept in view, we carried out a review of the then base defence concept. The conclusion was that the erstwhile base defence concept, with its emphasis on emplacing static guards at identified key and vulnerable points, was no longer tenable and sufficient to respond to our contemporary threats.

“Consequently, we introduced a new base defence concept. The new base defence concept is premised on the development and deployment of an air-minded ground defence force, trained and equipped as special light infantry and capable of operating both inside and outside the base perimeter against contemporary threats while leveraging on intelligence and available modern technology.

“That new base defence concept was introduced into the Service last year. However, recent evaluations of the bases reveal that many commanders and bases are still sold on the old concept and are yet to imbibe and adopt the tenets of the new base defence concept.

“To overcome this challenge, we instituted a 3-pronged learning strategy. The first was to introduce the concept to young officers at the early stages of their careers. This is already being done at the Young Officers’ Course. The second strategy was to introduce the concept to aspiring commanders. To actualize this strategy, a Base Defence Package has been incorporated into the training curriculum of the NAF Air War College. The third strategy which this august gathering is aimed at actualising is to educate the personnel that currently have the responsibility of securing and defending our bases”, explained Abubakar.

On the newly commissioned facilities he said, “the facilities will take care of 300 regiment personnel that are coming for the training. We are also expecting BMAT from Britain to train the 300 personnel.

“The whole idea is to have a very reliable and highly skilled personnel that can protect all our bases in Nigeria, add value to security in our airports and to assist in states we have security challenges”, he added.