Thursday, August 6

Former Chief of Air Staff begs US for sophisticated surveillance to fight Boko Haram

The immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu(retd), has begged the United States to consider releasing to Nigeria sophisticated surveillance equipment that would aid the military offensive against the terror sect, Boko Haram.

Amosu said the US was currently giving such high technology equipment only to countries under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

He stated that such surveillance equipment would make it possible for the Air Force to carry out its surveillance activities from the air and detect Improvised Explosive Devices in the mission areas without much difficulties.

The former Air Force chief said this during a Flying-out ceremony organised in his honour at the Air Force Base, Abuja, on Thursday.

He said he was optimistic that the US might lift the restriction on such equipment to give African countries the opportunity to have such capabilities.

Amosu added, “There are some capabilities particularly for the Air Force. Essentially, there are three issues that affect the operations of this nature; one of them is the mission responsiveness, another one is the flexibility and capability, and when it comes to capability, whatever we can get from any nation is welcomed.

“It will come with training; it will come with platforms, particularly for surveillance, because this kind of enemies we are dealing with, I will like to call them evasive enemies. So, we need a lot of surveillance capability.

“Unfortunately, we in the third world, there are some kinds of surveillance equipment that are only restricted to NATO nations for acquisition. I’m hoping that they would accommodate African countries so that we can have some of those capabilities.

“Particularly, when it comes to force protection, you can actually do most of this surveillance from the air and you will be able to detect if you have IEDs around locations with ease; but right now, we are not enjoying that. So we are hoping that the US will lift that area(restriction) and let us have the capability that it extends to NATO nations. I think we will be fine.”

He stated that Nigeria was in need of more determination and ruthlessness to curb the threat of terrorism in the society, saying the success of the terrorists in any part of the country would put the remaining regions in danger.

The former Air Chief, who also commented on the recent declaration by President Muhammadu Buhari that terrorism would end in December, noted that the counter terrorism aspect of the ongoing campaign, led by the military, would be concluded then while anti-terrorism operations would continue.

“Very clearly, Mr President has given the time line that by December; don’t forget, there are two aspects of fighting terrorism. One aspect is the counter; he is saying the counter aspect of it, which is being led by the military, must be concluded by December.

“The other aspect, the anti; it’s a continuous process. The Customs Service is involved and the Police are supposed to lead in this. That aspect is still there. The aspect to counter is an agenda that can be met,” he added

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