By John Ikani
Nigeria’s Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshall Isiaka Amao, on Tuesday said the Nigerian Air Force has conducted about 3,700 missions in the ongoing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in the North-East, as well as operations against bandits in the North-West in 2021 alone.
Amao disclosed this when he appeared before the House Committee on Air Force to defend the 2022 budget Appropriation.
According to him, “From January 2021 till date the NAF aircraft have flown about 7, 000 hours in over 4,600 sorties and about 3,700 missions in the ongoing counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations in the north east and operations against the bandits in the North-West.”
The CAS also noted that NAF inducted 16 newly acquired aircraft into its fleet through the support of the Federal Government and the National Assembly.
Chairman of the Committee, Shehu Koko, after Amao’s opening speech, called for a closed session.
Amao also, on Tuesday, said the end of insurgency and banditry was in sight.
His assurance came three days after the Nigerian military lost a General and four soldiers to the Islamic State West Africa Province brand of terrorists in Askira Uba, in Borno State.
The Air Chief gave the assurance when he defended the 2022 budget of the Air Force before the Senate Committee on Air Force.
He said the insurgents, be it Boko Haram or ISWAP, had been decimated and degraded with attendant loss of fighters and weapons which had been making many of them to surrender voluntarily.
“The required onslaughts are already mapped out to rout the remnants of the insurgents attacking villages and military outposts under the pretext of still being potent.
“In line with the core mandate of the Air Force and military generally, the territorial integrity of Nigeria is being protected from against the insurgents and bandits who in no distant time, will be completely wiped out,” he said.
He added that the 2021 budgetary allocations given the Air Force was judiciously used in prosecuting the war against the insurgents and bandits, as well as improving the welfare of officers and men, while the 2022 allocations would also be expended judiciously for similar purposes .
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ibn Bala Na’ Allah, tasked the military to use all the resources within its disposal in routing out the remnants of the insurgents in particular and make the forests inhabitable for bandits , Kidnappers and all forms of criminals.