Engagements with veterans helped in rescue of NAF fighter pilot – CDS

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, has said engagements with retired senior military officers partly contributed to the rescue and safe return of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter pilot that was involved in air crash on Sunday, after embarking on a successful air interdiction mission against bandits between Zamfara and Kaduna states boundaries.

According to a statement by Deputy Director Defence Information, Defence Headquarters, Air Commodore Wap Maigida on Monday, the CDS made the disclosure at the second edition of security parley, tagged “Chief of Defence Staff Interaction with Retired Senior Military Officers in Northwest Geopolitical Zone,” help at the 1 Division, Nigerian Army Officers’ Mess in Kaduna.

According to Gen Irabor, “the necessity of this gathering today which is of course to engage with you (military veterans), and by extension the larger society is partly what is responsible for the safe return of our cherished pilot. We believe that going forward, greater gains will be made as we undertake this operational task.”

The CDS further disclosed that the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) is constantly reviewing its techniques, tactics and procedures as well as operational doctrines to be in tandem with the requirements for the containment of the security threats.

Gen Irabor appealed to the senior citizens to show the same level of commitment and patriotic zeal which they exhibited while in military service and to be in-depth as well as forthright during the interactive session.

He pointed out that the retirees are part of members of the Armed Forces and security agencies, noting that they must play critical roles in national security as relevant stakeholders.

He said , “from our (AFN) assessment of all the stakeholders within our environment and nation, there is no other people that is better placed to understand the nuances of not just the security threats, but of course, the containment measures than you (military retirees).

He stated that the full spectrum of issues are better understood by the retired senior officers, due to their experiences in the service and interaction with civilian populace.

Before proceeding for the security parley, the CDS, Gen Irabor in company of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao met with Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, the NAF Alpha jet pilot, who survived the air crash Sunday.

The CDS commended the fighter pilot for his gallantry and bravery which he demonstrated in the fight against banditry.
He encouraged NAF pilots to remain steadfast in the task of national security.

In his remarks, the Chief of Defence Civil Military Cooperation (CDCMIC), Rear Admiral Fredrick Ogu, disclosed that the informed recommendations by the participants would further aid the AFN in tackling the array of security issues in their domains.

The CDCMIC, who lamented that the Northwest is becoming a safe haven for terrorist groups, highlighted the current security challenges in the region to include attacks on local communities, kidnapping, abductions, banditry and sundry crimes.

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