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Boko Haram: War Against Terror, Insurgency Has Defied Conventional Battles—Air Force Chief

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Calls for public support, intelligence sharing 

•Tasks commanders to evolve strategies to tackle emerging security challenges 

Senator Iroegbu

The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has noted that the asymmetric nature of the war against terror championed by Boko Haram terrorists and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) has defied conventional battles.

Abubakar stated this on Thursday during the Nigerian Air Force (NAF)’s two-day Commanders’ Retreat for 2020 at the NAF Officers Mess Abuja, which is being held as part of efforts to evolve strategies to meet the requirements of the ever-changing national security environment, with the theme: ‘Enhancing Efficiency and Effectiveness of NAF Unit Commanders in Contemporary Security Environment’.

The retreat has in attendance NAF Commanders from Formations and Units across the Country, who serve as the fulcrum for the translation and execution of the strategies into actionable plans.

Speaking, the CAS reminded Commanders of their responsibilities to the Nation as a fighting force, adding that the NAF is obligated to protect the sovereignty and sanctity of Nigeria as well as the lives and properties of the citizens and inhabitants.  

These objectives, he said, could only be achieved through a sound mind, renewed orientation and re-evaluation of one’s actions and inactions as a leader. 

“It is also pertinent to remind ourselves of the contemporary asymmetric nature of warfare, which has defied the conventional battle. We must recognise that this war cannot be fought in isolation of the civil populace, hence the need to integrate and win the hearts and minds of the civilian populace towards gaining intelligence to further our missions and operations”, he added. 

Abubakar stressed that the Retreat was organised to enhance the capacity of Commanders and potential Commanders in the NAF, noting that the vision of his administration is hinged on human capacity development. 

To this end, he noted that this was why the Service has made consistent efforts over the years to conduct over 26,000 training courses for officers, airmen and airwomen, both locally and abroad, across various NAF specialties, towards ensuring the effective and efficient employment of air power in response to National security imperatives. 

Photo highlights of the retreat

Also speaking, the Chief of Policy and Plans (COPP), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Isiaka Amao, noted that the 2020 Commanders’ Retreat would consolidate on the gains recorded during previous editions, which, he said, reflected positively on the output of participants.  

Amao stated that while the NAF was aware that the Commanders had acquired some knowledge and equipped themselves with various tools for the discharge of command duties either from staff courses, war colleges, defence colleges or through personal efforts, they would undoubtedly benefit from the experiences of others to function optimally. 

“Moreover, the fluid nature of the contemporary security situation requires Commanders to be flexible in the discharge of command responsibilities of which shared ideas and experiences could greatly help, in the light of command challenges”, he added.

He said the aim of the 2020 Retreat was to avail commanders and prospective commanders with out-of-the-book experiences from retired senior officers who held command appointments while in the Service. 

According to Amao, the retreat will also provide room for sharing of opinions and experiences of various commanders on command responsibilities, issues and challenges.

Two presentations were made on the first day of the Retreat by AVM Gabriel Odesola (rtd) on “Understanding the Rudiments of Command Responsibility in an Asymmetric Environment”, while the second presentation was made by the Assistant Director Analysis Compliance from the National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU). The Day 2 will feature presentations on “Enhancing Civil-Military Relations – Commanders’ Role” and “Strategic Decision Making in Command Appointments – My Experience” by AVM PC Abel (rtd) and AVM AA Zannah (rtd), respectively

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