The Nigerian Air Force has established a Special Forces command to bolster its operations in the North-East and other internal security operations across the country.
The Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, disclosed this on Thursday while delivering a lecture titled: “Nigerian Air Force: Challenges and Future Perspectives”, at the National Defence College, Abuja.
Although Mr. Abubakar, an Air Marshal, did not give details of the establishment of the new command, he said it was part of the planned restructuring of NAF’s operational command to conform with contemporary demands on national security.
“The Air Force is not only fighting in the air, and therefore, whatever it is that we need to have to fulfill our mandate in the face of the present challenges is what we are working toward putting on the ground.
“We are establishing a new command known as the Special Forces Command as part of ongoing restructuring of our operations.
“The establishment of the Special Forces Command would facilitate the development of NAF’s response capability in both internal and external security operations, as well as increase Nigeria’s self-reliance in strategic security operations,” he said.
Mr. Abubakar said that NAF had upgraded some combat units and established new ones as part of its review of its combat operations across the country.
He also announced the establishment of a Base Defence Coordination Centre which would become operational by the end of Jan. 2016.
“The Nigerian Air Force has taken some policy decisions to enhance our operational capabilities some of which include the upgrade of units and establishment of new ones.
“Among the upgraded units are the 305 helicopter group and 95 helicopter combat unit.
“The new ones include the establishment of the 89 Combat Group to be located in Bauchi to aid combat operations with air logistics in the North-East,’’ he said.
“Going forward’’, Mr. Abubakar said, warfare in the Nigerian Air Force would be dictated by advancement in technology and appropriate manpower development.
He said though paucity of funds and other challenges had affected NAF’s operations in the past years, the present Buhari administration had improved its operational capability with additional platforms.
The chief of air staff identified internal and external security threats as political indiscipline, insurgency, militancy, state of the economy, unguarded Nigerian borders and proliferation of arms as some of the challenges facing NAF.
Earlier, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, advocated for alternative funding for the Nigerian Police Force to actualise its mandate of protecting lives and property.
Mr. Arase said multinational companies and other corporate bodies operating in Nigeria should be taxed a percentage of their profits to augment government funding for the police.
He said the proposed alternative funding for the police could be managed by credible Nigerians to avoid a repeat of the past experience where such trust fund was mismanaged.
The IGP, who spoke on the topic “Nigerian Police Force: Challenges and Future Perspective”, said the usual government budgetary allocations to the police could not address its increasing needs.
He said there were 3,756 police posts, 1,579 police stations, 1,329 divisions and 37 state commands with over 314,000 policemen and women competing for the meager resources allocated by government to the force.
Mr. Arase said the present management of the police was working on improving service delivery in the force through enhanced community policing strategy and introduction of various incentives particularly for the rank and file.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the presentations were part of the lectures series on Strategy, Statecraft and National Security for participants of course 24 of the National Defence College, Abuja.