The Nigerian Air Force has rotated members of its ground forces fighting alongside troops of the Nigerian Army in the ongoing counter insurgency campaign.
The troops, who have spent more than six months in the Northeast, were being replaced by others assembled from the various Air Force units.
A statement issued yesterday by the Air Force Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Dele Alonge, said latest troop rotation was in line with operational practice.
“It is aimed at reinvigorating the minds of the personnel and their commitment to the ongoing fight against the Boko Haram terrorists by replacing the weary hands with fresh ones. The rotation also has the corollary effect of morale boosting for the troops,” Alonge said.
The statement added that subsisted troops had already been airlifted with the NAF C-130H aircraft from the theatre of operation to their various units. “During the short but colourful ceremony, the Commander of 79 Composite Group Maiduguri, Air Commodore Chris Egwoba, on behalf of the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, commended the efforts of the gallant airmen and wished them success in their future endeavours,” the statement added.
In a related development, Toyota Nigeria Limited yesterday donated five Hilux vans to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in Maiduguri, Borno State to aid the ongoing counter insurgency campaign in the Northeast.
The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, who received the vans, expressed profound gratitude to the management and staff of Toyota.
A statement issued by the Acting Director of Defence Information, Col. Rabe Abubakar yesterday quoted Gen. Olonisakin as describing the company’s gesture as a show of public support and approval for MNJTF actions.
“This donation is a laudable one and very timely too. This shows that the fight against Boko Haram insurgency will come to an effective end, going by the presidential directive.
“The provision of adequate security, not only in the northeast but in all corners of the country, is a task that must be done and done quickly too,” Olonisakin was quoted to have said.
The CDS, who was represented at the occasion by Air Vice-Marshal Olutayo Oguntoyinbo, promised that the Hilux vans would be used to ensure the success of the operation against all forms of guerrilla movements and cross-border crimes around the Lake Chad Basin.
While charging soldiers to make maximum use of the vehicles, he urged other companies and corporate organisations in Nigeria and countries around the Lake Chad Basin to emulate Toyota’s noble gesture.
He called on Nigerians to come forward and support the Nigerian Military in the ongoing campaign against terror.
In his own remarks, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the vehicles would be used effectively to achieve the MNJTF’s mandate of defeating the Boko Haram terror group in all the areas they occupied.
“The Hilux van would be put to most effective use for the achievement of the three mandates of MNJTF, namely to defeat the insurgents in all the countries they exist whether in Nigeria, Niger Republic, Chad or Cameroon, and to facilitate the humanitarian and logistics needs of troops in the conduct of their duties by providing escort and security for them.
The Army Chief was also quoted to have said the vehicles would be used for the distribution of materials to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), to re-establish state authority and to create safe environments for displaced persons to return to their villages and live a normal life.
The COAS also described the gesture by Toyota as a very important role in the realization of the presidential directive of routing out terrorists in three months.
He added that in addition to using the vehicles for patrol purposes, they would also be used to escort humanitarian support aid to IDPs and to re-establish civil authority by conveying them to their villages.
Toyota Nigeria’s Managing Director, Mr. Kunle Adeojo, was quoted as saying that members of his management board had agreed to support the Armed Forces with the donations.
Adeojo said fighting against insurgents needed the support of all nations and all companies.
He said: “Doing this is a worthy cause indeed for the singular fact that businesses and potential can only be fully maximised in a safe and secure society.
“That is why Toyota reckons that the crusade against insurgency deserves the support and solidarity of all, hence the donation of these pick-up vans to aid your operations.”