The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Tuesday said its planes consumed an average of 1.9 million litres of aviation fuel each month to fight and prosecute insurgency in the North-East. The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Sadiq Abubakar, an Air Marshal, made the disclosure at the opening ceremony of the NAF Logistics Seminar held in Lagos.
The seminar was tagged: “Repositioning NAF logistics for Efficient Employment of Air Power in response to Contemporary National Security Imperatives’’. The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Defense, Muhammad Dan-Ali, who was represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Danjuma Sheni. Also present was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division, Maj.-Gen. Isidore Edet; Flag Officers Commanding (FOCs) Western Naval and Logistics Commands, Rear Adm. Fergusson Bobai and Beegroy Ibe-Enwo, respectively. Air Officers Commanding (AOCs) Logistics and Tactical Commands, Air Vice Marshal Sani Ahmed and Air Marshal Muhammad Mohammed, were also present at the ceremony.
According to the CAS, the NAF has managed to continue its operations across the country despite the scarcity of aviation fuel because it was determined to ensure that no Nigerian territory was under siege.
“To support air operations in the North-East, the NAF must put an excellent plan that will ensure availability of aviation fuel in the operational area, whether the product is locally available or not.
“The service consumed an average of 1.9 million liters of aviation fuel monthly.
“The main fighter air plane we use consumes 2500 liters/hour and we fly at least two air planes at a time.
“At that consumption rate, the two consume 5000 liters every hour and we run two missions.
“So, we are talking of about 10,000 liters just for one aircraft time.
“We have so many other airplanes like the Alpha jets which consume 2400 liters/hour.
“They also fly in formation and that means about 4800 liters.
“There are other air planes that fly on daily basis.
“Our desire is to ensure no territory of Nigeria is under any threat.
“To achieve that, we must have sound logistics strategy to ensure that materials and spare parts are available when required.
“Our logisticians, therefore, must work assiduously to ensure the product is available for operation.
“In a war situation, no excuse is acceptable.
“To ensure we build capacity in logistics planning, the NAF has embarked on training and retraining both within and outside Nigeria,” he said
Abubakar said the service consistently sought ways of standardising its logistics procedures and operations in line with current global best practices.
According to him, the seminar was apt, considering the current security situation in the country which requires discipline and detailed planning.
“To address the situation, the NAF must together carefully plan a strategy not only for the movement of equipment and personnel to theatre of operations, but also for the maintenance of its air assets.
“It is only when we get the strategy right that we can hope to effectively and efficiently deploy air power necessary to address the challenges facing Nigeria,’’ he said.
In his address, Mr. Dan-Ali assured that more Boko Haram hostages would be rescued; urging security personnel who had made huge sacrifices to ensure the country stayed united.
“Combat operations against insurgents in the North-East are still ongoing.
“NAF has remained a major player in carrying out aerial bombardment leading to the destruction of Boko Haram elements’ camps and dislodging them from their strongholds within Sambisa Forest and adjoining enclaves.
“The sustained air operations have granted a greater latitude to the ground troops to rescue additional hostages mostly women and children who were abducted by the insurgents.
“Boko Haram’s will to fight has been seriously downgraded,’’ he said.
The AOC, Logistics Command, Air Vice Marshal Sani Ahmed, in his remarks lauded the CAS for his concerted efforts to enhance facilities and infrastructure of the service. He stated that the Logistics Command was poised to provide robust logistics support for the NAF fleets.
Ahmed added that they were striving to evolve a credible, responsive and responsible logistics system that would guarantee timely, effective and efficient air support in all theatres of operation.