1,000 IDPs Treated By Nigerian Airforce Medical Team In Gwoza.

The Nigerian Air Force has given free medicare to 1,000 returning Internally Displaced Persons, in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno state.

The beneficiaries were housed in the Wakani camp in Gwoza.

This is the first intervention by the Nigerian Air Force in Gwoza since it’s liberation.

However, there are over 50,000 Internally Displaced Persons living in Gwoza local government, dealing with one ailment or the other which is associated with poor hygiene and living condition in the camps.

The IDPS, mostly elderly people are happy with the efforts of the Air Force which supplements the overstretched resources of the MSF already operating in Gwoza.

The intervention dealt with issues that had to do with eye related problems, deworming of children, general checkup for nursing and pregnant mothers as well as distribution of free mosquito nets.

The Director Humanitarian Services of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Harold Onyechi says the outreach programme is continuous.

 

Source: Channels TV

Nigerian Air Force Pledges To Provide Logistics In Northeast Reconstruction

The Nigerian Air Force has pledged to provide logistics during the rebuilding of the northeast ravaged by over seven years of insurgency.

While receiving members of the Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, revealed that the Air Force was setting up an operation theatre for the hospital in Bama as part of efforts to improve health care for Internally Displaced Persons in the region.

The Vice Chairman of the committee, Mr Tijani Tumsah, explained that the committee was negotiating a loan facility of about $400 million from the World Bank and the African Development Bank to commence the project.

“We seek the collaboration of the Nigerian Air Force in a lot of areas. Some of the areas include using your experiences in countering violent extremism, disarmament, mobilisation, re-integration of civilian JTF, counter-radicalisation programmes, construction and renovation of schools and roads among others,” he told the Air Chief.

Assuring the committee of the force’s support, Air Marshall Abubakar said: “I want to say that we are open anytime you feel that we can be of support to you and we are most willing to support in the area of reconstruction and renovation.

“We have also made it clear that we have directorate of works that is building our works and renovating accommodation in all our barracks. They are building the post-housing projects for our officers and we believe that they are there and if there is need for us to support your reconstruction efforts we will not hesitate to deploy them to see how they can assist you”

The Chief of Air Staff further assured the committee members that the Air Force could help move materials from any part of Nigeria to Maiduguri through its C-130 aircraft, which he said could carry up to 20,000 kilograms.

“We are willing to support you and give you this aircraft,” he added.

Scary Tales of 2 Nigerian Airforce Pilots: ‘What we saw in Sambisa Forest’.

Little is known about the young Nigerian Air Force pilots who played various roles in the decimation of Boko Haram insurgents and the  capture of the dreaded Sambisa Forest. Many of them have been at war front for years, with not a few losing their lives in the process. Assistant Editor Seun Akioye reports his encounter with some of the fighter pilots on their  involvement in the battle against Boko Haram terrorists in the Northeast.

Flight Lieutenant (Captain) Sam Haastrup jumped down smartly from the cockpit of a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha-Jet, took off his helmet and hung it by the side of the aircraft. He was calm. It was a daily routine and a way of life. “It’s what I do for a living”,  Flight-Lt. said.

He looked at the reporter and said: “I am a fighter pilot with the Nigerian Air Force, 103 Strike Group, Yola. I have been in this campaign for the past three years and that is what I am doing for a living right now. I am doing the job as much as possible and I am trying to pay back for the colleagues that we have lost in this war. I pray that the Lord will continue to be with their families.”

Haastrup stood at the expansive airstrip of the NAF Headquarters, 105 Composite Group, Maiduguri,  headquarters of the Air Component of Operation Lafiya Dole. All around, young pilots were busy with their aircraft, the Alpha-Jets, the F7-Ni, the Augusta helicopters, ATR 42 surveillance aircraft and the massive transport plane C-130.

The 105 Composite Group has not always been impregnable. On December 3, 2013, a legion of Boko Haram militants invaded the base, wreaking untold havoc on men and equipment.

Not a few soldiers died and three fighter jets were destroyed by the terrorists. The incident, described as “one of the saddest occurrences in the NAF” by a senior officer, was a wake-up call to the Air Force which has since formed a fierce group of fighters dubbed “Special Forces” to defend Air bases and provide the much-needed ground security.

 

A cat with nine lives

Hasstrup is a ‘cat with nine lives’. In three years of participating in Operation Lafiya Dole, he has been shot at many times by Boko Haram fighters. He scaped the fate which befell Wing Commander Chinda Hedima on September 12, 2014. Hedima, whose Alpha Jet NAF/466 was gunned down at Kauri, was captured by Boko Haram fighters and subjected to the most inhuman atrocities after which he was beheaded. Hedima’s companion, Group Captain Abdulrasheed Braimoh, is still “missing in action”.

For years, the identities of its most treasured fighters were kept as NAF’s best-kept secret, obviously for security reasons. The Air Component of the war against insurgency has been to use air power to soften the ground for troops to operate. The method includes: Air Interdiction and Close Air Support. None of the missions is a pleasure flight and Hasstrup attested to that fact.

Haastrup has an enviable military background.  He attended military schools, obtained a degree in Chemistry from the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) and a Masters’ degree in Environmental Chemistry. He went to the United States (U.S.) to train as a fighter pilot and returned in 2012. Since 2013, he has been in the Northeast.

Hasstrup has been in the thick of the fight against Boko Haram, conducting several air interdictions against the insurgents. He has had many close shaves, shot at many times.

“Yes, at the beginning of this campaign in 2013 and 2014, I was shot more than once but still managed to fly back to a safe landing location. But with time, tactics on how to avoid being shot evolved.  So far, I am alive to tell my story. I only pray that God will keep the families of our colleagues who have passed on in this campaign,” he said.

But despite his many close shaves, Haastrup views the insurgents as “a group of nuisance requiring unnecessary attention.”  Anytime he goes on his plane, he “feels normal” as he goes on a mission of life and death.

The insurgents are no fools, as  they quickly gather their hostages, using them as human shield to prevent an attack from the fighter jets. It was always frustrating for the pilots whose training forbids the killing of civilians.

Haastrup said: “I have no fear of any kind. Even though I understand it’s normal to have a little fear because that gives you a reason to stay alive. But my worry is that the insurgents having to use innocent Nigerians as human shield when they see aircraft coming.  So, my concern is not to hit innocent citizens. However, we ensure that we are in a fight with only the insurgents before we open fire. We don’t ever engage without proper clearance that we are fighting only the insurgents.”

One of the most memorable missions of Haastrup was also his very first. He had received all the details about Boko Haram convoy marching towards the troops’ location, his jet was scrambled and he went in a fight with them.

“It was an armed reconnaissance. I came across a convoy of vehicles belonging to the insurgents and I had to do the necessary to stop them from advancing to hurt innocent Nigerians.”

 

Flying Officer (Lieutenant) Goni: A pilot fighting for his people

A first-time acquaintance with Flying Officer Ibrahim Goni will mistake him for a school pupil. Goni has yet to pack all of his 26 years into his face, which looks like that of a high school football captain than a fighter pilot he really is. Even with the assistance of his pilot suit, Goni’s features are deceitful.  But hidden under his brown uniform is one of the bravest hearts in the military.

“Owing to the fact that I came from the Northeast, I know how much the people have suffered. So, whenever I am on any mission, I go with the mind that I want to see Borno people smiling the way they were smiling before,” Goni said, wiping his face with his right hand.

The young pilot’s dream was not to fly in Alpha-Jets, put his life on the line to battle dangerous and unforgiving terrorists as a child. He only wanted to be a pilot. But two years into his career as a fighter pilot, he has come to see his work as a crusade for his fatherland.

Goni knew the risks of flying over Sambisa forest. During his missions, he knew the consequences of being shot down. “Of course the terrorists shoot back at us but you know we have minimums to observe and limitations on the aircraft. So, there are certain range and altitude that we cannot pass below, to keep ourselves safe. Flying is good, but safety first.”

When Goni graduated four years ago with a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, he was sent to the U.S. to train as a fighter pilot by the NAF. Back home, he was seconded to the Alpha Jets and for some time, had to learn the ropes as a pilot observer. His first mission was memorable as well as intriguing.

He said: “To become a fighter pilot, you have to undergo a series of training and my first mission, I was like an observer behind and it was pretty cool. There are some scenes you only see in films and I used to think they were film tricks but they are real. So, you say to yourself these things are really happening and this is what you will do one day alone.  You know, some of these situations, you just tune your mind towards what you want to achieve. After a couple of flights, I started going for air interdiction myself,” Goni said.

He has flown to Sambisa against Boko Haram on many occasions, seeing many ‘unspeakable things’ which remain highly classified. Shortly before the fall of Sambisa, Goni was one of the NAF pilots who took part in Air Interdictions and close air support missions.

“Because of the rules of engagement and the human rights laws, that day in Camp Zairo, we saw a couple of women and children moving around. But we had to make contact with the ISR guys up there to confirm that these guys are the bad guys before we engage them.

“We had good clearance that they were the bad guys. The clearance was to ensure that we don’t hit children and women because it is against the rules. We went for the bad guys not the children,” he said.

Goni refers to Boko Haram terrorists as “the bad guys”because of the devastation and pains they had caused. It was his duty to restore the joy and lessen the pains by taking out the bad guys.  When he spoke about “picking out the bad guys”, it sounded like picking vegetables and choosing which to throw into the pot of boiling water first.

Many Nigerians have queried why the NAF could not just bomb Sambisa Forest, killing completely every living thing inside it. Goni smiled.

He said: “You have to consider a lot of things. In Sambisa, there are captives and the insurgents have a lot of hostages that we don’t want to hit. If it is to go and raid Sambisa Forest, I think it is something that could be done in a twinkle of an eye. But there are people there that we don’t want to kill.

“Another thing is about human rights and there are rules of engagement we adhere to. As a professional force, you have to adhere to those rules of engagement whenever you are on a mission,” he said.

 

Fewer bad guys, better society

Goni has not lost his admiration for fighting. Behind his zeal to hop on his Alpha-Jet and take off to the sky is a patriotic philosophy. That is what goes on in his mind as he prepares for another deadly mission, where he may win or lose.

“What goes on in my mind is that I am going to fight the bad guys. We call them bad guys because they have wreaked a lot of havoc and inflicted pains on our people. So, when I am fighting, I say ‘this is my own quota’ of eliminating these bad guys because the fewer the bad guys, the better our society. So, it is always a good thing for my going on a mission, it gives me that hope that I am here fighting for my people and Nigeria as a whole.”

 

Squadron Leader Olusola Adeniyi: A pilot making history

Olusola Adeniyi, a Squadron Leader (Major) recently made history not on account of his good looks but because he was the first pilot to land in Sambisa after it fell to government troops in December, last year.

He said: “Landing in Sambisa Forest shortly after the fall of Camp Zairo would linger for a very long time in my memory. It was an infamous place where all I could do for a very long time was to fly over. Eventually, I got the opportunity to land there. I took a senior military officer into Sambisa Forest where he met with the troops and addressed them and appreciated them for the work. I felt very proud to fly the first helicopter to land in that area and the personality that I took there,” Adeniyi said.

The Augusta 109 light helicopter has been Adeniyi’s ‘home’ for many years. He is a pilot, instructor and captain on one of the most versatile utility aircraft in the arsenal of the Air Force. The helicopter was designed for light troop transportation within the theater of battle, casualty evacuations and logistics supply of military equipment. But it can also be armed by the door to attack small targets, making it suitable for many occasions.

For a long time, Adeniyi was deployed in Operation Sharan Daji which was designed to battle the menace of cattle rustlers and armed bandits in the Northwest. It was Adeniyi’s job to transport troops into hard-to-reach locations and intermittently supply them with logistics.

But he has also been involved in Operation Lafiya Dole, the biggest military operation in Nigeria since the civil war. When there is need for highly classified missions of national importance, Adeniyi and his Augusta helicopter are called into action.

 

What I saw inside Sambisa

Being the first to land in Sambisa Forest after the takeover by the military, Adeniyi was in a vintage position to observe first hand, how Boko Haram operated from its enclave. But he would not disclose many of the things he saw. He admitted the sight wasn’t pretty.

“When we landed, the sight there wasn’t the best – mostly deserted; the small communities around that area had been ravaged and burnt. The after-effect of what the insurgency had done to Nigeria and particularly the Northeast, to me in particular, is very painful, but I am glad about the progress we have made and that people can return to their homes. Hopefully, normalcy will return to those areas,” he said.

 

The eyes, ears in the sky

The ATR 42-500 aircraft sat lazily on the airstrip of the 105 Composite Group in Maiduguri. Whether you look at it from afar or from close-up, it is never a pretty airplane. Everything about the aircraft seems ugly, even the colours. It is huge and round with small tires and doors.

But the aircraft is not for beauty. It was designed as the monster in the sky and the ear and eyes of the military in the cloud. The ATR 42-500 is so fundamentally important to the conduct of Operation Lafiya Dole that without it, it might have taken more time and more lives to win the war against the insurgents.

The masters of this game are Flying Officers (Lieutenants) Ahmed Safianu Saley and Emmanuel Balogun. Their job is to conduct one of the most important duties of any battle: Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR).

Saley and Balogun’s assignment is so important. No fighter jet – no matter how skillful and talented the pilot is – will take to the sky without a precise ISR. It details the location of the enemy, the ammunition, the possible number of civilians and how to avoid them.

“We are like the eyes. I have seen quite a lot of things in Sambisa and most of them are classified. I can tell you we see our ground troops and we give them the accurate location of the enemy. So, they will not be caught unawares. Some of the challenges in ISR are trying to differentiate the good guys from the bad ones. So, we have to be very careful; we are not a ragtag troop. We are well-trained. You have to think and sieve the information,” Saley said.

Tall, with freshly formed face and well-trimmed moustache, Saley is very forthcoming. He is funny and enthusiastic, But he is also deeply suspicious, secretive and many times ‘uncooperative’.

Balogun lacks the enthusiasm of his co-pilot, he looks like a man who has a job to do and he is willing to do it, whether he enjoys it or not. A man with a deep sense of responsibility, he is as secretive as his partner, maybe a little more impatient with nosey reporters.

Saleh said: “I have been a pilot for close to three years now. It’s a dream come true; to serve the nation is a pride of every patriotic Nigerian to come out and save the Nigeria people. So, I am really proud of my job.

“I trained in the U.S., then returned to Nigeria and enlisted in the NAF. I went for my training on the ATR 42 aircraft in Holland, and I am here serving. My job description is basically surveillance and intelligence. We provide surveillance for the ground troops; we go over there; we provide maritime patrol as well and support the ground troops in the Northeast.”

It is Balogun’s third year as a pilot. He also attended many flying courses in Holland and the Czech Republic. To him, being a pilot is a dream come true and he is feeling fulfilled.

“It’s a dream come true. I always wanted to serve my fatherland; I happen to have a military background. My dad was in the military. I am feeling fulfill”, he said.

The two young men had no illusions about the importance of their job. A mistake from these can be counter-productive to the ground troops and result in casualty of unimaginable proportion. A job well-done will end in the decimation of the enemy and victory over the ‘bad guys’”.

But their duties do not include the power to engage the enemy but to guide the troops to safety in engaging the enemy. “In Sambisa, we find the enemy’s location and direct the ground troops there and also the fighter jets. We are not to engage,” they said.

The ATR 42-500 could remain in the sky for many hours. But Balogun declined to reveal the length of any of the missions. He said it depends on the type of mission. “Let’s just say we can be there for many hours,” he said without betraying any emotions.

The two pilots have been deployed in other operations aside Lafiya Dole.

“I have been in Operation Delta Safe, Zaman Lafia and Lafiya Dole,” Saley said.

They found the Lafiya Dole the most challenging and memorable. The duo, due to the nature of their jobs, played critical roles in the fight to capture Sambisa Forest.

They, however, declined to give details of their operations in  Sambisa’.

“Sorry, we cannot discuss what we saw in our operations with you. They are classified,” they chorused. Saley laughed but Balogun did not.

So, are these two promising pilots single and searching?

Balogun: “I rather would have you not asked that question.”

When asked if the question was difficult to answer, he replied: “I would rather  not answer.”

But, Saley was more forthcoming, he laughed and joked and gave the reporter a pat on the back, saying: “I am not married, but I have my eyes on someone, on a special lady, I know the lady will say I am using one stone to kill a bird but so shall it be.”

Nigerian Airforce Acquires Sophisticated Attack Helicopters

The Nigerian Airforce (NAF) has acquired two Mi-35M attack helicopter to fight terrorists and criminal gangs. The Mi-35M is a rugged helicopter that offers round the clock combat use of guided and unguided weapons in regular and challenging climate conditions which is equipped with the latest navigation suite, target sights system, laser range finder and location finder.

This was disclosed by Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao, Director of Training and Operation of the Nigerian Airforce at a media briefing in Abuja. The Media Briefing which was hosted by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar was to highlight major activities last year.

AVM Amao said that the achievements of NAF in 2016 covered improvement in platforms and operational capabilities, infrastructural development, training and professionalism.

He said “some of the major achievements of the NAF from January to December 2016 include the Acquisition of 2x Mi-35M helicopter with capabilities for night operations; acquisition of additional 2 new DA-40; reactivation of ATR-42 NAF 931; acquisition of A-Jet NAF 478 in addition to the operable 7 A-Jet ac fleet; induction of Super Mushshak ac (SMK) into the NAF inventory as a primary trainer; and induction of 3x EC-135 helicopters handed over to the NAF by NNPC in Mar 16”

Amao also disclosed that NAF provided most of the surveillance and intelligence activities towards the success of the counter-insurgency campaigns in the North-East and other special missions in the country.

He stated that “in the year 2016, 62 per cent of Intelligence missions were conducted not only to determine the location of abducted Nigerians but to also provide battle field situational awareness for the land forces. “

Speaking further, AVM Amao added that many liaison/logistics and re-supply sorties were flown to move large volume of materials in support of the Land Component’s advance into Sambisa. These include ammunition, water, tyres and other stores to staging areas in support of Op Crackdown.

He said that “CAS, logistics resupply and ISR missions aimed at dislodging the BHTs from their enclaves were further conducted in sustenance of the offensive operations on the ground.

“Additionally, MEDEVAC and CASEVAC were conducted in support of the surface forces. In the beginning of Jun 16, the Air Component’s efforts were geared towards consolidating the successes achieved during NA OP CRACK DOWN. Considerable number of AR and some AI, CAS and CAP sorties were flown to further degrade BHTs capabilities. These missions were conducted in Northern Borno and the Sambisa general area.”

Full text of the briefing below:

BRIEF ON NIGERIAN AIR FORCE ACTIVITIES IN 2016

INTRODUCTION
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in furtherance of its statutory roles of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria carried out various activities in 2016 which contributed greatly to the restoration of peace, security, humanitarian efforts and wellbeing of Nigerians. During this period, the NAF projected air power in various roles that softened the ground for the surface forces and led to the eventual decimation of the operational capability of Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) in the North East (NE). It also contributed troops for Internal Security operations. Being mindful of the importance of human capacity development and improved welfare of its personnel, the NAF also carried out training activities both within and outside the country as well as providing basic infrastructural facilities to enhance service delivery.

The most fundamental mission of the NAF is to protect Nigeria’s sovereignty, citizens, values, interests, resources and territory against internal and external threats. It could be recalled that at assumption of office by the current government, the security situation in the country was far from desired and efforts to reverse the trend was one of the most pursued agenda of the president, Commander-in-Chief. Hence, as the air component commander of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) of the NAF, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar is poised to bequeath a highly trained, better equipped, and strategically positioned air force to respond appropriately to the policy dictates of the Government. Thus, the CAS vision was ‘To reposition the NAF into a highly professional and discipline force through capacity building initiatives for effective, efficient and timely employment of air power in response to Nigeria’s national security imperatives’. This policy thrust with well tailored key drivers has kept the focus of low level strategic and tactical commanders to a synergized efforts that repositioned the NAF to effectively respond to its tasking. Accordingly, this brief will give an overview of NAF’s effort towards enhancing the operational effectiveness of its platforms and the highlights of current operations involving the NAF. Thereafter, it will appraise NAF operational activities, before discussing the aspects of training, provision of basic infrastructural, educational and welfare facilities. The brief will however not cover classified and certain operational details for obvious reasons.

AIM

The aim of this brief is to acquaint the media with NAF activities in 2016.
EFFORTS TOWARDS ENHANCING OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS OF NAF PLATFORMS
The NAF was involved in multiple operations in the Year 2016. These include OP SAFE HAVEN, OP AWATSE, OP DELTA SAFE, OP SHARAN DAJI and OP LAFIYA DOLE. The bombing attacks and terror activities of BHTs in the NE, cattle rustlings/bandit activities in the North West (NW) and militant activities/oil vandalism in the South-South (SS) and South-West (SW) of the country warranted the deployment of Nigerian Armed Forces (AFN) to the affected regions to restore peace and security.

Strategic roles of the NAF in these operations was force generation and ensuring combat readiness towards supporting surface forces. The NAF conducted a variety of missions in the year 2016 from its staging Bases at 103 STG Yola, 115 SOG PH, 403 FTS Kaduna and 451 NAF Stn Jos in support of the operations employing a number of its air assets which included the alpha Jet, F-7Ni and the CH3A UCAV. Others were the Super Puma, Agusta 109 LUH/E, ATR-42MPA and the Beechcraft King Air 350i. The Mi-17 and Mi-35M/Mi-24P hel gunships, C 130 H, DO 228 ac and the DA-42 MPP also played prominent roles in the operations. These missions involved Armed Recce (AR), Air Interdiction (AI), CAS and CAP. Others were CSAR, ISR, logistic resupply and CASEVAC. It is imperative to note that these missions were aided by the effective monitoring of the entire operations area based on real time INTREP from grd tps through the ATF and from ISR missions conducted by the ATR-42 MPA, KA-350i and Diamond 42 ac, thereby avoiding serious collateral damages.

Furthermore, the NAF Regiments’ special forces were adequately deployed for base defences, particularly in securing the airports and the deployed air assets for OP LAFIYA DOLE. Some of the efforts to enhance the operational effectiveness of these platforms in 2016 included:

a. Upgrade of 3 A-Jet Weapons System. Three A-jet ac which were recently acquired by the NAF had no weapons system and were limited to only training roles. To enhance the NAF capability, the 3 ac were upgraded in-house with weapons system and deployed in active combat operations in the NE with high degree of performance.

b. Upgrade of Mi-17 Helicopter. The acquired Mi-17 hel which was initially used only for SAR role was also upgraded in-house with weapons system. The heli was effectively deployed in several strike ops in the NE including night attack, which was not attainable with the hel before the upgrade.

c. Acquisition of Aircraft/Spares. Two new Mi-17 helicopter engines were recently acquired and installed. Also, 2 x Mi-35M hels and associated spares were recently acquired. The Mi-35 hels have just been delivered in Makurdi while arrangements are ongoing for them to be test flown and inducted into NAF. Installation of camera on Beechcraft ac NAF 202 and NAF 204, and upgrade of camera on NAF 201 were also conducted in 2016. Furthermore, 3x EC-135 hel were handed over to the NAF by NNPC in Mar 16. In collaboration with Aero-contractors Nigeria Ltd, 2 of the hel were reactivated. These included NAF 547 and NAF 548. Efforts are also on-going to carry out PDM/reactivation of 2x Mi-35P hel, NAF 530 and NAF 531.

d. Efforts at Arming Aircraft and Base Defence Vehicles. Suitable unarmed aircraft were armed, tested and effectively operated except the L-39ZA. Some of the efforts at arming aircraft and base defence vehicles include:

(1) Construction of Pintle Mounts for 12.7mm BMG on EC-135 and Mi-17 Helicopters.

(2) Arming of the L-39ZA aircraft with UB-16 launchers and Gesha-23 gun.

HIGHLIGHTS OF CURRENT OPERATIONS
OP SAFE HAVEN: The sectarian crisis that erupted in Jan 10 in Jos Metropolis resulted in wanton destruction of lives and property. Consequently, the FGN instituted OP SAFE HAVEN, to restore nomalcy to Jos and Plateau State in general. NAF ground troops at 451 NAF Station Jos, and some surveillance aircraft are deeply involved in the Operation.

OP AWATSE: OP AWATSE was constituted to stop the menace of hoodlums and petroleum pipeline vandalism in the densely-forested swamps around Arepo, Elepete, Abule Oba, Ilara, Agbowa and Gbaga communities in Lagos and Ogun States. In line with the operational end state to destroy all criminal/vandal camps in the affected areas with a view to stopping the pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the region, the operation began on 27 Jul 16 with NAF platforms conducting ISR and aerial attacks in support of the surface forces employing the A-Jet, Beechcraft and Mi-24V hel. These aircraft recorded a total of 20 sorties and logged a total of 32 hours during the period under review.

OP DELTA SAFE: OP DELTA SAFE previously known as OP PULO SHIELD was mounted in response to the militant activities in the Niger Delta area. Although government efforts through military action and amnesty initially brought the militancy to an end, other criminal activities persisted with the collaboration of foreign nationals. Consequently, OP PULO SHIELD transmuted into OP DELTA SAFE to stop the menace of illegal bunkering, oil theft and pipeline vandalism. The NAF units involved in the operation are 115 SOG and 107 AMG while the platforms deployed include the A-Jet, Beechcraft, Mi-24V hel, EC-135 hel and the ATR-42 ac.

OP SHARAN DAJI: Following the growing menace of cattle rustlers in most parts of the NW Zone of Nigeria, the FGN instituted OP SHARAN DAJI. The operation, which is basically composed of troops from 1 Div NA and the NAF Training Command has the mandate of clearing bandit camps/hideouts of cattle rustlers and other criminal activities in the North West geo-political zone. The clearing operations have just been concluded in different States and some of the rustlers KIA, with recovery of some weapons and rustled animals. The NAF deployed the DA-42, Beechcraft 350i, A109LUH for ISR as well as patrol missions for this operation. The A-Jet ac and Mi-24 hel gunships are also deployed for this operation from time to time.

OP LAFIYA DOLE: In the year 2016, major achievements have been recorded under Op LAFIYA DOLE in the NE. Generally, the NAF air offensive operations substantially degraded the capacity and strength of the terrorists easing the surface forces operations and eventual liberation of Sambisa Forest.

The Air Component comprising 103 STG located in Yola and 105 CG in Maiduguri has continued to conduct a wide range of operations in support of ground forces within the Theatre of Operations. These include ISR missions, Armed Recce (AR), Air Interdictions (AI) and Close Air Support (CAS) missions. Others are Combat Armed Patrols (CAP), CASEVAC, log re-sup missions and provision of Command Post. ISR missions by the Air Component are also supported by efforts of int operatives which have continued to provide real-time information on BHTs locations and activities throughout the theatre of operations.

For the year under review, a total of 6,000 hrs was flown by NAF platforms translating to Jet A-1 fuel consumption of 10,525,945 liters. Despite this extensive employment of air power, it is however impressive to note that the casualty figures of own troops were minimal due to the professionalism displayed by NAF pilots. It is also pertinent to mention some specific achievements recorded by the NAF in support of Op LAFIYA DOLE in 2016 as briefly stated in subsequent paragraphs.

Acquisition of New Platforms. The limited number of air assets, particularly attack hel gunships for the NAF to vigorously pursue the objectives of operation LAFIYA DOLE, were accorded priority. In this regard, 2 x Mi-35M Gunship Hel from Russia were recently acquired. The aircraft have already been delivered awaiting official induction after which they will be launched for operations.

Ascertaining the Location of Some Chibok Girls. The Air Component intensified ISR efforts towards determining, with significant degree of certainty, the locations where the Chibok Girls were being held. ISR/BDA missions were conducted which have contributed to the release of 21 of Chibok Girls.

Air Support to Surface Forces.
In the year 2016, 62 per cent of Intelligence missions were conducted not only to determine the location of abducted Nigerians but to also provide battle field situational awareness for the land forces. Furthermore, many liaison/logistics and re-supply sorties were flown to move large volume of materials in support of the Land Component’s advance into Sambisa. These include ammunition, water, tyres and other stores to staging areas in support of OP CRACKDOWN. CAS, logistics resupply and ISR missions aimed at dislodging the BHTs from their enclaves were further conducted in sustenance of the offensive operations on the ground. Additionally, MEDEVAC and CASEVAC were conducted in support of the surface forces. In the beginning of Jun 16, the Air Component’s efforts were geared towards consolidating the successes achieved during NA OP CRACK DOWN. Considerable number of AR and some AI, CAS and CAP sorties were flown to further degrade BHTs capabilities. These missions were conducted in Northern Borno and the Sambisa general area. Specifically they include:

Support to MNJTF OPGAMA AIKI and OP FOREST STORM.
The NAF was fighting in 2 fronts in support of NA Ops GAMA AIKI and FOREST STORM. In support of these operations, intensive ISR missions were conducted to monitor the activities within the known BHT strongholds in Sambisa Forest and Northern Borno prior to and during the operations. The NAF also conducted a 7 day intensive bombardment of BHT camps, logistics bases and equipment during NAF Op FOREST STORM. This initial air bombardment by NAF degraded the insurgents which laid the foundation for the ultimate collapse of the BHTs hold in the Sambisa forest.

Support to OP RESCUE FINALE. Following the successful degradation of BHTs, the NAF in conjunction with NA commenced OP RESCUE FINALE from 1 Nov 16 into the stronghold of BHTs in Sambisa forest. The NAF maintained constant presence overhead own troops by providing CAP and ISR while the ground troops were advancing in OP RESCUE FINALE.

Conduct of Special Operations. The liaison missions conducted by the NAF during the period under review include the airlift of the Governor of Adamawa State from Mubi to Yola on 18 Apr 16. In addition, Mi-17 conducted psyops and info ops on 30 Apr 16 by dropping leaflets over BHT enclaves in Sambisa forest. Furthermore, one of the ‘Chibok girls’ was airlifted by the Super Puma aircraft from Damboa to Maiduguri on 18 May 16. Also, the A109-LUH conducted liaison mission to Damboa and Chibok to convey the parents of the ‘Chibok girls’ to Maiduguri with the Mi-24V providing armed escort. Prominent among the liaison missions during the period was the airlift of Chief of the Air Staff, Governor of Borno State and a number of VIPs/dignitaries from Maiduguri to/from Bama by the Mi-17 hel for the commissioning of the NAF Emergency Hospital at the Bama IDP Camp on 22 Aug 16. Notable special missions conducted in Oct 16, include the successful extraction of 21 Chibok Girls from 12 –13 Oct 16. The 2 days operation comprises 6 missions flown in 13 sorties using one each of 5 ac types; Alpha Jet, Be-350 KA, Super Puma, AW101 and A109 LUH. The mission presented some tactical challenges with respect to the lack of lighting in the operational area as well as the confined area designated as landing zone. Notwithstanding all these challenges, the Air Component was able to effectively plan and coordinate the operation to a successful outcome.

HUMANITARIAN OPERATIONS
The NAF in its contribution to humanitarian operations in the NE established 2 NAF Emergency Hospitals. It has issued various directives for execution of humanitarian operations and continually reviewed its plans, particularly for management of over 2165,000 IDPs located in various centres. The NAF has also been undertaking wide range of humanitarian support missions in conjunction with NEMA, Commission for Refugee Migrants and IDPs as well as other relevant humanitarian agencies.

It is pertinent to emphasize that the humanitarian challenges within the IDP camps are enormous. Hence, the military and the Federal/State Governments effort alone would not be sufficient to handle the situation. Therefore, more advocacy need to be made to garner support of local and international NGOs. Most importantly, all Nigerians need to be encouraged to join this noble course of supporting IDPs in the NE.

TRAINING ACTIVITIES FOR YEAR 2016
Within budgetary constraints, the NAF training focus for 2016 was to address pertinent NAF human resource development and operational effectiveness issues to further consolidate and improve the training achievements of 2015. Emphasis was therefore placed on courses essential for the career progression of personnel and critical for the performance of assigned NAF function in tackling the present security challenges. In most cases, courses that cannot be obtained locally were sourced abroad.

The training activities which spread across all NAF trades with more emphasis on pilots, engineers, technician and regiment personnel were grouped into 2 broad categories namely: Local and Foreign. The NAF in 2016 trained 869 of its personnel overseas including 101 pilots and 357 engrs/technicians while 4,868 were trained locally including 131 pilots and 643 engrs/technicians. Breakdown of NAF training details for 2016 is at Annex A.

PROVISION OF BASIC INFRASTRUCTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES
The present NAF administration has also considered it a priority to provide basic infrastructural and educational facilities to seamlessly reposition the Service for enhanced operational effectiveness. To this end, a lot of these related activities have been undertaken in support of air operations especially in the current fight against insurgency in the NE which were mostly executed by the Logistics and Communications Branch of the Service. They essentially include provision of residential accommodation, essential services and infrastructure, operational and educational facilities.

PROVISION OF RESIDENTIAL ACCOMMODATION
In continuation of its efforts towards provision of decent residential accommodation, the NAF has constructed a number of residential accommodation for its personnel. During the period under review, 268 units of officers/airmen residential accommodation blocks have been constructed. These ranges from One-Bedroom, 2 and 3-Bedroom apartments for officers and airmen to cater for all categories of NAF personnel. A total of 2,418 personnel have been quartered in the new accommodation blocks. In addition 51 blocks of existing residential accommodation have been rehabilitated. The construction/rehabilitation of residential accommodation cuts across several NAF units. For instance, 2 blocks of 18 x 2-Bedroom SNCOs accommodation were constructed at NAF Base Abuja, one block of 12 x One-Bedroom single offrs quarters and 2 blocks of 10 x One-Bedroom accommodation were constructed at 105 CG Maiduguri. Similar accommodation were constructed in Yola, Port Harcourt, Benin, Kainji, Makurdi, Enugu, Bauchi, Lagos and Ipetu-Ijesha, Others are Kano, Jos and Abuja to mention a few. Additionally, several Officers’ Messes and Airmen Clubs have been constructed or renovated to provide recreational and sporting facilities for personnel. Furthermore, worship centres were provided or upgraded where required to cater for personnel spiritual needs.

PROVISION OF BASIC INFRASTRUCTURE
In order to ensure the functionality of existing and newly constructed buildings, NAF has continued to provide potable water, electricity supply and access roads. In 2016, a total of 24 boreholes have been sunk in 14 locations. Additionally, 23 power generators ranging from 60KVA to 150KVA have been procured and installed at 33 NAF units. Furthermore, 7.5MVA and 5MVA transformers have been procured and installed in the bases in Abuja, Bauchi and Kano. These efforts have boosted electricity supply in these locations. On roads, a total of 22km roads have been constructed or resurfaced within Abuja and Kaduna NAF Bases.

PROVISION OF OPERATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE
The NAF has continued to support air operations through provision and maintenance of operational facilities such as hangars, aprons and taxiways. For example, the Service has completely renovated the ac hangar in 531 ACMD Lagos and 131 Engr Gp Makurdi. Through the NAFRRRT, the apron at 103 STG Yola has been expanded to accommodate more aircraft while the 401 FTS Kaduna taxiway and runway have been resurfaced and extendedto provide better operational surface. Currently, installation of runway lights in Kaduna military airport is on-going. Also, the VIP Lounge at NAF FOB Daura has been modified while aircraft shelters were provided in Maiduguri.

CONSTRUCTION OF EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES
In its efforts at improving quality of education for children and dependants of personnel, NAF has continued to provide educational facilities across its units. Within the year 2016, a full fledged boarding Air Force Girls’ Comprehensive School (AFGCS) was established in Abuja and a day secondary school has been built in Shasha Lagos while a primary school was established in Air Force Base, Minna. Air Force Secondary School (AFSS) Kaduna is being converted into a full boarding school while the facilities in existing secondary and primary schools have been upgraded. For example, an assembly hall was constructed at Air Force Comprehensive School, Yola and several buildings have been renovated at Air Force Comprehensive School, Agbani, Enugu while furniture are provided at Air Force Comprehensive School, Kano. At present, the NAF has 22 secondary schools and 21 primary schools most of which were renovated in 2016. To boost the information technology base of students also, 12 secondary schools have been provided with digital interactive boards and computer laboratories.

In, Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), classroom blocks, lecture theatre, and departmental libraries have been constructed. Expanded infrastructures are equally being provided at NAF Institute of Safety, Kaduna. In addition, 5 blocks of recruits’ hostel/toilet blocks, a block of 12 x One-Bedroom instructors accommodation, recruits dining hall and a 30 x One-Bedroom airmen instructors accommodation have been constructed at the Ground Training Centre (GTC) Kaduna to provide a conducive environment for recruit training.

PROVISION OF INFRASTRUCTURE AT NEWLY ESTABLISHED NAF UNITS
With the need to rapidly expand the NAF to meet contemporary counter insurgency challenges in the NE, the Service has reviewed its Force Structure by establishing a new Command and units. Accordingly, the Service had to intervene in providing infrastructure at these newly established units. Some of these units are HQ SOC Bauchi, Forward Operation Base (FOB), Katsina, Quick Response Wing Daura, 201 Composite Group, Bauchi, and Quick Response Groups, Owerri and Gusau. Contracts for construction of Group HQ building, offrs and joint airmen Mess, residential accommodation for offrs and airmen as well as provision of water and electricity have been awarded for development of FOB Katsina and QR Wing Daura. The development of 201 CG is at advanced completion stage with nearly all the residential accommodation blocks, apron, fire bay parade ground, MT Yard, BFI facilities as well as provision of electricity, water and access road in place. Additionally, a 60-bedded reference hospital has been constructed and awaiting commissioning. Contracts for the extension of apron and construction of taxiways and access road to operational area have also been awarded.

SUMMARY OF NAF MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2016
The NAF has achieved a lot in the year 2016. The achievements cover improvement in platforms and operational capabilities, infrastructural development, training and professionalism. Some of the major achievements of the NAF from January to December 2016 are as follows:
a. The induction of Super Mushshak ac (SMK) into the NAF inventory on 5 Dec 16 as a primary trainer ac.
b. Acquisition of additional 2 new DA-40 ac in April 16, 2016
c. Reactivation of ATR-42 ac NAF 931 that was damaged about 2 years ago.
d. Acquisition of A-Jet ac NAF 478 in addition to the operable 7 A-Jet ac fleet in Jun 16.
e. Induction of 3x EC-135 helicopters handed over to the NAF by NNPC in Mar 16.
f. Acquisition of 2x Mi-35M helicopter with capabilities for night operations.
g. Successful degradation of the insurgents and liberation of Sambisa Forest.
h. Successful extraction of the Chibok Girls from SAMBISA.
i. Establishment NAF Emergency Hospital at the Bama IDP Camp.
j. Weaponization of 3 x A-Jet aircraft.
k. Upgrade of Mi-17 Helicopter for strike capability at night.
l. Weaponization of Mi-17 Helicopters.
m. Construction of Pintle Mounts for BMG 12.7mm guns on EC-135 Helicopter.
n. Training of 1,020 personnel overseas and 4,868 locally.
o. Training of 252 pilots and 357 Engrs/technicians overseas and 131 pilots and 643 Engr/technicians locally.
p. Construction of 268 units of officers/airmen residential accommodation.
q. Accommodation of 2,418 personnel and rehabilitation of 51 blocks of existing residential accommodation.
r. A total of 24 boreholes sunk in 14 locations across the country.
s. Procurement and installation of 23 power generators in 33 NAF units.
t. Construction and resurfacing of 14km roads within NAF Bases in Kaduna and Abuja.
u. Provision, maintenance and expansion of operational facilities such as hangars, aprons and taxiways in 531Aircraft Maintenance Depot, Lagos, 131 Engr Group, Makurdi, 103 Strike Group Yola, 401 Flying Training School, Kaduna and VIP Lounge at NAF Forward Operations Base, Daura, Katsina.
v. Establishment of Air Force Girls Comprehensive School, Abuja.
w. Construction of blocks of classrooms, lecture theatre and departmental libraries at AFIT.
x. Construction of 5 blocks of recruits hostel/toilet blocks, a block of 12 x One-bedroom instructors accommodation, recruits dining hall and a 30 x One-Bedroom airmen instructors accommodation at GTC.
y. Establishment of 5th NAF Command-Special Operations Command, Bauchi.
z. Establishment of 60- bedded NAF Reference Hospital, Bauchi.
aa. Provision of digital interactive boards and computers in 12 NAF secondary schools across the country.
ab. Donation of over 3,000 text books to IDPs in the North East.
CONCLUSION
In the year 2016, the NAF has participated in various operations in different parts of the country for the restoration of peace in the affected areas with a good measure of success. These operations include OP SAFE HAVEN, OP AWATSE, OP SHARAN DAJI and Op LAFIYA DOLE amongst other operations to defeat militants, cattle rustlers/bandits and BHTs. The invaluable contributions of the NAF are significant to the attainment of the overall AFN mission end state. AFN have presently recaptured all the lost territories in the NE including the total liberation of the Sambisa Forest from the insurgents. It is therefore imperative to boost the AFN capacity to effectively sustain ongoing and future operations.

To further enhance the morale of personnel, the NAF have continued to provide several units of residential and office accommodation as well as infrastructure such as roads, water and electricity in its main and forward operating bases. Provision of educational and medical facilities have also received unprecedented attention. It is however pertinent to note that the major achievements recorded in 2016 by the NAF would not have been possible without the unrelenting support of the President and C-in-C of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari CFR. The operations of air platforms is quite expensive. With the recession and serious decline in government revenue within the year, without the strong commitment of the C- in –C to a peaceful, stable and prosperous Nigeria, the NAF would not have received the much funding it had to operate satisfactory in the performance of its national duties. The vision of the CAS and practical leadership has also been a wielding influence to the NAF successes.

AVM Isiaka Amao
Director Training and Operation
Nigeria Airforce

Nigerian Air Force redeploys 30 Air Vice Marshals, 37 other senior officers

The Nigerian Air Force has redeployed 67 senior officers comprising 30 Air Vice Marshals, 17 Air Commodores, 10 Group Captains, seven Wing Commanders and three Squadron Leaders.

The redeployment came on the heel of the decoration of senior officers recently promoted to the ranks of AVM and Air Cdre.

Prominent among those affected by the new posting at the Headquarters Nigerian Air Force, Abuja are: AVM Muhammadu Muhammed, newly appointed as the Air Secretary, AVM Saleh Shinkafi appointed the pioneer Chief of Medical Services, AVM Mohammad Muhammad appointed the Chief of Administration and, AVM Sambo Usman appointed the Chief of Logistics and Communication.

The new posting also brought about leadership changes at the Command level; with three of the former Air Officers Commanding (AOCs) redeployed while two new ones have been appointed.

Those redeployed include AVM Nurudeen Balogun, moved from Training Command, Kaduna, to Tactical Air Command Makurdi; AVM Christopher Okoye from Special Operations Command Bauchi to Training Command Kaduna and; AVM Sani Ahmed from Logistics Command Ikeja to Special Operations Command, Bauchi.

The two newly appointed AOCs are AVM Stephen Onuh (Mobility Command, Yenagoa) and AVM Ibrahim Yahaya (Logistics Command, Ikeja).

In the same vein, AVM Ajibola Jekennu is now the Commandant Armed Forces Resettlement Centre, Oshodi, while AVM Isiyaka Bukar becomes the Commandant Air Force Institute of Technology, Kaduna.

Others are Air Commodore Hassan Abubakar appointed the new commander, 011 Presidential Air Fleet Abuja and, Air Commodore Ismaila Yahaya now the Principal Air Staff Officer to the Chief of the Air Staff.

“The recent deployment, though a routine exercise, is aimed at ensuring that the NAF is effectively manned for operational efficiency and effectiveness in line with the vision of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar. The postings take effect from 22 December 2016,” a statement by Air Force spokesperson, Ayodele Famuyiwa, said.

Boko Haram On the Run As Nigerian Air Force Bombards BH Strongholds

Nigeria’s air force on Thursday bombed Boko Haram strongholds in northeast Borno state, killing “a large number of terrorists”, as a four-nation offensive against the insurgents presses on, a military statement said.

The targets of the bombardment included the town of Gwoza, where Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau first proclaimed the existence of a caliphate inside in Nigeria in August, and the notorious Sambisa Forest area, where the rebels have had camps for years. “The air strikes which today targeted… Sambisa forests and parts of Gwoza have been highly successful,” defence spokesman Chris Olukolade said in a statement. “The death of a large number of terrorists has been recorded.”

Nigerian military claims of successes against Boko Haram have in the past not been consistent with witness accounts and it was not immediately possible to verify the details of the latest operation.

The Sambisa Forest is believed to be the area where more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in April were taken before being divided into groups and moved.

Read More: vanguardngr.com

10 Things You Need To Know This Morning #NewsBits

Good morning! Here are 10 things you need to know this morning:

1. The Nigerian military has reacted to an alleged statement by the Nigerien army that soldiers on the Nigerian side run from attack. Reacting in a series of tweets on Thursday, Nigeria’s Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, insisted that Nigerian soldiers were resolute and firm, accusing the army from Niger of aiding Boko Haram, and referring to them as looters who try to survive poverty through questionable deals with Boko Haram.

2. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has been accused of setting aside N5bn each for the 36 states of the federation in an effort to recover lost grounds and win the rescheduled general elections slated for March 28 and April 11, 2014. The total reserved for this project in the 36 states, according to report amounts to N180 billion.

3. Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has defended Gen. Muhammadu Buhari over the certificate saga, saying that at the time General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) joined the military, it was not possible for anyone to join Nigerian Army without a qualification equivalent to a school certificate. He advised politicians to talk on real campaign issues instead of trivial issues.

4. The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation has said that if elected, Muhammadu Buhari-led administration will strengthen the Nigerian Army. The campaign organization said it welcomes the reassurance of the Nigerian armed forces to be committed to its professional roles instead of being cajoled into politics.

5. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has announced that it has arrested Abdul-Aziz Nyako, the son of impeached Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako. THis was disclosed by the Head of Media and Publicity of the Commission, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren. He said Mr. Nyako was picked up arrested in Gombe..

6. Report says Special Forces of the Nigerian military supported by the Nigerian Air force, Thursday night moved deep into the Sambisa Forests and have already destroyed at least 6 camps belonging to the insurgents.

7. The Deputy Governor of Borno state, Alhaji Zannah Mustapha, on Friday said that two teenagers were behind the Thursday’s bomb attack on Biu Main Market. While condemning the incident, he confirmed that eight people were killed by the explosion and 20 others were injured.

8. The All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday drew the attention of the Nigerian Army to a banner placed on the fence of the APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu’s house. The party said the two banners , with the inscription, ’’ This is not Sambisa Forest , wrong posting’’ was a message to the military, that Tinubu’s house must not be mistaken for the Sambisa forest.

9. In less than a week of his abduction, men of the Special Task Force have rescued Pa Dariye Defwan, father of the former Governor of Plateau state, Chief Joshua Dariye. Report says he was rescued in Qua’an Pan local government area of the state.

10. A grade A friendly match has been fixed between the Nigerian Senior National Team, Super Eagles and the Senior National Team of Bolivia to hold in Uyo on Thursday, 26th March. The Nigeria Football Federation and its FIFA Match Agent, Jairo Pachon confirmed the scheduled match.

Source – Daily post Ng