Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, declared yesterday that despite the wave of terrorism, killings and other criminal vices plaguing the country, the Armed Forces remained resolute and determined to deepen and ensure sustenance of democracy.
He made the declaration just as the Chief of Air Staff; Air Marshal Alex Badeh, warned that without a strong and virile military, there could not be a successful democracy, noting that there was need to continue to enhance capacity and training to meet present security challenges.
Speaking when he received the Chief of Pakistani Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, in Abuja, Admiral Ibrahim said: “We have been trained to handle any security challenge that may confront our nation. That is why in our various schools, we are taught crisis management.”
Giving an illustration of the mode of security challenges confronting the nation, the CDS said “occasionally, it is drizzling but sometimes it is pouring in torrents.
“In spite of this, we have continued to weather the storm because we are trained for it.”
On how capacity should be built up, Ibrahim said he was in support of a situation where the services as the Army and Navy will also have their air fighting arm like you have in other armed forces of the world.
He noted that it would help quick and precise deployments towards checkmating contemporary challenges.
Earlier, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Badeh, said the Nigerian Air Force needed to move at such a speed that it was exploring other means of getting its equipment ready at all times.
“We cannot afford to move with the speed on the Navy. This is an air force and in modern day, the air force must move fast. In the NAF, we have people with brains but we need to give them the enablement, the environment for them to perform.
“That is why I charged my officers that we must not wait until parts come from abroad before we fix minor equipment,” he said.
Recalling his visit to the Pakistani Air Force last year, Badeh noted that though Pakistanis were under sanctions for a long time, it didn’t deter them from looking inwards. “Today, they are self-sufficient in arms production and necessary military hardware. This is my vision for the NAF,” Badeh said.
He told the visiting Air Chief Marshal that as a result of the excellent relations existing between both air forces, the NAF would seek the assistance of PAF for an instructor pilot for the C-130 aircraft.
He thanked his Pakistani counterpart for sending Pakistani engineers to assist in fixing the F-7 fighter jet that was grounded since October last year.
Air Chief Marshal Butt in his address, said the Pakistani Airforce was ready to partner the NAF to help it achieve self sufficiency saying, “we will interact more during my stay to help the NAF attain its potentials in a very short time.”
He explained that Pakistani Air Force had become a force to be reckoned with, especially in the area of production of military equipment.
Air Force Chief said: “We have a defence industry that is slightly more developed than the country itself. We are in a region that demand we are strong militarily otherwise, we will not be allowed to exist.”
Acknowledging that Pakistan had passed through some of the challenges Nigeria was witnessing and that it (Pakistan) was still passing through it, the Air Chief said Pakistani military had a lot of experience it was willing to share with its Nigerian counterpart in tackling present security challenges.