The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has disclosed that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) would continue to strengthen its existing strategic partnership with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in order to contain emerging 21st Century security challenges as well as to further develop needed capacity in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
Abubakar in a statement on Friday by the Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, remarked this while on a courtesy visit to the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, in Abuja.
While speaking during the visit, the CAS, who was accompanied by other senior officers from NAF Headquarters, revealed that the NAF, being a highly technical Service, requires knowledgeable personnel with the right technical abilities to deal with the security challenges in the 21st century that are often complicated by rapid technological advancements.
He noted that the NAF, on its part, had continued to seek for ways to build the capacity of its personnel to effectively man its equipment, including ICT facilities that support its Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems in the various Theatres of Operation.
According to him, “the NAF, in furtherance of its aggressive human capacity building initiatives, has, within the past 3 years, trained several personnel in ICT related fields in United States of America and India, apart from the many others trained locally”. he noted.
Abubakar however, said that there were still human capacity gaps which could be filled in partnership with NCC.
He also informed the EVC that the NAF was in the process of establishing new air combat ranges in remote parts of Bauchi and Zamfara States and would require the assistance of the Commission to facilitate the provision of telecommunications service access to these areas.
Responding,.the EVC/CEO NCC, Prof. Danbatta, expressed delight to receive the CAS in his office and commended the Service for the important role it has been playing in the fight against insurgency and other security threats in the country.
He stated that knowledge of ICT was critical in dealing with security challenges in the 21st century, where security does not end in the 3 physical domains but also includes space and cyberspace.
The EVC reiterated NCC’s commitment to continue to collaborate with the NAF to enhance its ability to deal with these emerging threats.
He explained that the NCC’s training arm, which is the Digital Bridge Institute, has the mandate to develop capacity in all telecommunications fields covering Nigeria and the entire West African sub-region. He therefore suggested that a joint team, comprising officers from the NAF and DBI, be set up to work out specific areas of training needs with a view to developing tailored courses for the NAF.
In response to the request for telecommunications coverage at the proposed NAF air combat ranges, Danbatta stated that the Commission had already mapped out all areas across the country where network access gaps existed and would work with the NAF to fill the gaps in the requested areas.