by Pita Chib,Minna

The Nigerian Air force has carried out its 2019 counter-terrorism simulation exercise in Minna- Zungeru road to integrate air and ground counter-terrorism operations in state

Addressing  newsmen in Minna on Friday after the counter-terrorism simulation exercise tagged Baban Naushi (Big Punch), the Chief of Air Staff,  Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, said integrating ground and air counter-terrorism operations will go a long way towards combating the increasing banditry attacks and reducing terrorism in Nigeria.

Abubakar said that the exercise is carried out as part of the effort of the Nigerian Airforce to find solutions to a number of security challenges that we are facing as a nation today.

"This simulation exercise is one of the exercises the Nigerian Airforce have put together in order to build the required capability so that we can fully integrate air and ground operations.

"Ultimately, our desire is to perfect what we are doing here and to extend it to other sister services particularly the Nigeria army who we are working closely with to come and see how we can work together in order to deal with the problems facing our country.

He added that air power in combating terrorism is very important in any military operations, "Airpower is very critical to any military operation. It has continued to play a critical role in dealing with security challenges and therefore we are happy that we have a number of assets here."

The Chief of Air Staff further said that the force is restructuring in a way where they would be more effective and efficient.

"There is no way you can be efficient and effective if you do not analyze the way you do things and your processes. I believe at the end of the exercise, we should be able to identify gaps if there are and try to see how we can fine-tune our tactics, our operations, our doctrines in such a way that it would be more effective to support ground operations. "

Abubakar said that the exercise has enabled them to see how the air projection elements of the Airforce fit in terrorism operation adding that more stimulation operations would be carried out in other parts of the country.

"The exercise has enabled us to see how our air projection elements fit into what is going on generally in the area of counter-terrorism. At the end of the exercise, we will look put for gaps and see how we can bridge that gap.

"This is the second one, would have the third one in the southwest so they have a knowledge of the different terrains we have in Nigeria so that anytime they called upon should be able to do a great job."

The Niger State Governor,  Abubakar Bello, who commended the stimulation exercise, said with the level of precision carried out by the men of the Nigerian Airforce, the force would be able to respond to any security challenge.

"The exercise met my expectations. We are proud of the Nigerian AirForce and with what we have seen, with the level of precision, I am certain that they will be able to respond to any security challenge. We are motivated by what we have seen today."

Bello who was represented by the Secretary to the Niger State Government (SSG),  Ahmed Matane, said the state is facing a lot of security challenges in five local government areas, stating that he is certain that the air operations of the Nigeria Airforce would go a long way towards ending the security challenges.

He then appealed to the Chief of Air Staff to allow his men to join and support the joint task force team set up by the state government to combat the insecurities in some troubled local government councils in Niger state.