The United States Department of Defence has promised to enhance its defence cooperation with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in the fight against insurgency and other forms of criminality.
The U.S. Department also assured the Service of its commitment towards strengthening the strategic partnership.
This was disclosed in a statement signed on Tuesday by NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Information Air Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola
The assurance was given Tuesday by the Secretary of the United States Air Force (USAF), Honourable Barbara Barrett, who was on a courtesy visit to the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at the Headquarters NAF (HQ NAF) Abuja.
She paid the visit alongside, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard.
Barrett noted that the partnership with the NAF would be in the areas of equipment and platform acquisition, training as well as additional opportunities in the area of air operations, amongst others.
She said the partnership had become necessary to further enhance professionalism and build the needed capacity for the effective and efficient employment of airpower.
“We appreciate the past and we also look forward to a better relationship in the future. We are also looking at ways that we can impact our relationship through equipment, training, and various opportunities for operations, maintenance, and use of aircraft and equipment. We are really conscious that the Air Force of Nigeria is a highly respected and professional entity and we think that, throughout Africa, the NAF is an entity we would like to partner with”, she said.
Secretary USAF noted that the United States (US) was aware of the security challenges confronting Nigeria and therefore reassured the NAF of her support.
“We are conscious of the challenges that the country is facing, especially in the North East and North West. The entire world needs Nigeria to be successful. Accordingly, we will partner with you in the appropriate ways. We are very much on your side to make great things happen; to get the right things done and to do them in the right way.
“We would like to build on our past and grow a stronger relationship. We are attentive to the need to use available resources well; we know that has been something that the Nigerian leadership has been attentive to as well. So as we build that future, we want you to know that it is a great US-Nigeria relationship that we look forward to enhancing”, she said.
She, therefore, expressed her appreciation to the CAS for the warm reception accorded her and her team.
In his remarks, the CAS described Hon Barrett’s visit as a demonstration of the commitment of partnership between the two countries’ air forces. He noted that the US played a significant role in the successes being recorded in the theatre of operations of the NAF. He disclosed that NAF personnel had been trained in various specialties in the US, with some currently undergoing training.