Armed ViolenceNews

UK Beefs Up Nigerian Air Force Airbase Protection and Security Capacity

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has beefed up air base security and protection to safeguard assets playing important roles in the country’s counter insurgency campaign, the leadership of the organisation has said.

Over the past few years, NAF has slowly built up base security and asymmetric warfare capacity through training programmes conducted by Four-Troop, a company founded by veterans of IDF Special Forces, the British Military Advisory Training Team (BMATT), and in overseas military training facilities.

The training was in response to security threats facing the country and the threat posed by terror groups to air bases.

On Dec. 2, 2013, Boko Haram launched an attack on an airbase in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State. The attack led to deaths and the destruction of mostly decommissioned aircraft.

On Jan. 23, during the graduation of another batch of Regiment personnel, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said NAF had the capacity to defend its bases and prevent another attack similar to the one in Maiduguri.

“Our base in Maiduguri was attacked in December 2013 but today nobody will try that because we have all the skills and what it takes to defend our bases. That is one clear indication that the quality of training is good,” Abubakar said.

He also highlighted the improvement of force protection capabilities amidst the increasingly complex nature of contemporary threats.

The NAF chief noted that the training and subsequent deployment of force protection elements had “contributed to bridging the gaps in the protection of NAF critical assets and bases.”

HumAngle understands that the graduation ceremony, which took place at the Regiment Training Centre in Kaduna, Northwest Nigeria, comprised three officers, airmen and airwomen trained in force protection in a complex air and ground environment.

The Air Force said the training was also the first in-house training by the Regiment Training Centre to build capacity over the past five years under the British Military Advisory Training Team.

The protection of airbases used in conducting air support and deep strike missions is important considering their role in targeting insurgents in the Northeast and Lake Chad Basin.

Nigerian Air Force personnel to 22 at Lafia Airport in Nasarawa
Nigerian Air Force personnel to 22 at Lafia Airport in Nasarawa

In a statement on Saturday, the NAF Director of Public Relations, Air Vice-Marshal Ibikunle Daramola, said that the organisation recently restructured 407 Air Combat Training Group, Kainji, Niger State, and established a Force Protection Wing.

“The wing is to serve as a dedicated unit to ensure credible force protection and base defence for units in the Kainji Base, which has been expanded with the planned induction of the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft in mind,” Daramola said.

Nigerian Air Force training session
Nigerian Air Force training session

In February 2020, NAF revealed that it had trained 4,000 personnel locally and overseas to meet specialized needs in Force Protection.

Regiment and Special Forces personnel are also contributing to internal security operations and are deployed in outposts such as Agatu in Benue State, Gembu in Taraba State, Gusau in Zamfara State and Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State, HumAngle reports.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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