The Minister of Defence, Gen. Aliyu Gusau (retd), on Tuesday visited the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, where he met with the leadership of the Armed Forces and was briefed by the Service Chiefs on the present state of security in the country.
Yesterday’s meeting was a further confirmation that the Service Chiefs led by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh and the minister have buried the past of their first meeting and resolved to work together to overcome the nation’s insecurity challenges
Gusau, who was accompanied by his Minister of State, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, met the Service Chiefs behind closed doors for over four hours at Defence Headquarters, the Headquarters of the Nigerian Army and later the Headquarters of the Nigerian Air Force.
However, the minister did not visit the Naval Headquarters due to the absence of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin from office.
CDS Badeh, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Keneth Minimah and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Olusola Amosu, briefed the minister and his team on the insurgency in the North East, the increasing spate of cattle rustling and violence in the North Central, and the general state of security in the country.
It was learnt that before the meeting commenced, the military authorities asked defence correspondents, information officers from the ministry and body guards of the Security Chiefs to excuse them.
Gusau, who spoke with journalists shortly after his meetings with the military top brass, expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Nigerian Army and the Air Force in combating the threat of terrorism in the country.
The minister said the Federal Government could only encourage the military operatives, who in his view, were doing very well in containing the activities of the insurgents.
He added that the Federal Government would ensure the release of all that was required to aid the military in the ongoing campaign against the insurgents.
He said, “Whatever is the requirement of the Armed Forces, we will take them to the Government and I believe the government would do whatever is necessary to fund the Armed Forces.
“What we are doing is to encourage them; they are doing very well. I don’t have much to do but to encourage them. I am satisfied.
“Our neighbours are not our enemies; these boys, when they are pursued, they go there. They don’t even know them”.
Gusau praised the Air Force for cooperating effectively with the other services in the North East, Niger Delta, North Central and other areas where they are in operation.
He said, “We have noted quite a number of requirements that the Nigeria Air Force ask for. This we will forward to Mr. President for his immediate consideration.
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate officers, airmen and women of the Nigerian Air Force for the service they are rendering to our nation.
“I would like also to put on record, the cordial relationship in the joint operations that is being carried out between the Air Force and the Army in the North East, between the Air Force and the Navy in the Niger Delta area and also between the Air Force and the Customs and Immigration in the border patrol. That is how it should be and that is what we have, well done”.
Speaking in the same vein, Badeh acknowledged the crucial role played by the men of the Air Force in reducing the threat of insurgency.
The CDS said if not for the efforts of the Air Force, the insurgents would have been closer to Nigerians now, saying it would be almost impossible for any single arm of the service to prosecute the campaign against the insurgents.
He, therefore, urged men of the Armed Forces to sustain the effective inter service collaboration encouraged by the current Chief of Army Staff and the Chief of Air Staff in the ongoing operation.
“There should be no rivalry in whatever thing we are doing. We thank God that the Chief of Army Staff and the Chief of Air Staff are course mates; they go even on patrol in the same aero plane, it never happened before in this country”, he said.