When a bird loses its wings, it is no better than a chick running round and merely looking up longingly. It can’t soar into the azure sky, and is just doomed for a certain time to walk the night.
That was the state of the Nigerian Air Force years back, until President Muhammadu Buhari came. The Force was wingless. Forlorn. Grounded. Comatose.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, gave an idea of what was, and what now is, in Abuja February 2020, when President Buhari inaugurated two Agusta 109 Power and one MI-171 E helicopters.
Said the Air Chief: “Just five years ago, the Nigerian Air Force was facing serious challenges with an abysmal 35 percent aircraft serviceability status for all operable aircraft. At the same time, terrorism, insurgency and other heinous crimes were ravaging the nation with Improvised Explosive Devices exploding not only in the North-east but, indeed, in several urban centers, including the Federal Capital Territory.
“On assumption of office, the President approved the procurement of military equipment including fighter aircraft and helicopter gunships. This visionary step has profoundly impacted positively on Nigerian Air Force operations…Government has so far procured and inducted 22 aircraft, the Service is expecting 17 additional platforms including 12 Super Tucanos from the United States… The Service has undoubtedly come a long way from where it was in 2015.”
Just like its motto, the Nigerian Air Force is now willing, able and ready. President Buhari made it possible.
Can you imagine how the anti-insurgency war would have been without awesome air power? Sure, the whole country would have been overrun by now. The Infantry gives the Boko Haram insurgents a pounding on terra firma, and the Air Force gives them bloody noses from the sky. The war is not fully won yet, but every honest Nigerian would agree that it is not the way it had always been.
When the Buhari Administration came in 2015, a minimum of 17 local government areas were under full Boko Haram occupation. The people had fled, emirs and traditional rulers had shown clean pair of heels, and cities and villages were deserted.
On Inauguration Day, President Buhari moved the command center of the war to Maiduguri, the epicenter of the insurgency, and within weeks and months, all the occupied territories were recovered. The Air Force flew sorties after sorties, and pumped the fear of hell into the insurgents. Ground troops moved in, and mopped up the rest.
Before Buhari came, the Air Force had few fighter jets, and morale was at its lowest ebb. But in five years, see what has been accomplished. 10 x Super Mushshak aircraft acquired, along with 5 x Mi-35M Helicopter Gunships, 2x Bell 412 Helicopters, 4 x Agusta 109 Power Attack Helicopters, 1 x Mi-171 E Helicopter.
Expected to arrive the country soon are 19 manned Aircraft along 8 Unmanned, Combat Aerial Vehicles, 12 x A-29 Super Tucano, 3x JF-17 Thunder Fighter Aircraft, 1 x Mi-171E Helicopter, 3 x Special Missions Aircraft, 8 x UCAVs-including 2 Wingloong 11, 2CH-3 and 2 CH-4.
If you had a thieving Leader, interested only in feathering his own nest and that of his family, he would not spend billions of dollars in equipping the armed forces. As President Buhari arms the Air Force, he does same for the Army, the Navy, the Police, and all other para-military forces. Being an Army General himself, he knows there’s little they would achieve without equipment.
As he equips, the President also boosts the manpower needs of the Air Force too. Recruitment of airmen/airmen continues in thousands, while young graduates are regularly commissioned as officers after mandatory training. During one of such commissioning Air Chief Sadique reiterated that the Federal Government has facilitated unprecedented increase in number of aircraft available for Nigerian Air Force operations, bringing aircraft serviceability rate from 35% in July 2015 up to 82% as at February 2020.
“You would recall that 22 platforms were inducted into the Nigerian Air Force since 2015,” the Air Chief added.
The Nigerian Air Force is just a typical example of the change that President Buhari has brought to bear on many areas of national life. This is a man who has come to serve, rather than be served. At a time that national earnings dwindled by 60%, due to collapse in prices of oil in the international market, infrastructure work is not not stopping. Roads, bridges, rail, airports, power, and the like, continue. Stories abound in different sectors. And the half has never yet been told. The past is but a story told. The future will still be written in gold.
*Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity
Iran has announced it will not accept preconditions from a new Joe Biden administration over its nuclear programme unless the US returns to it’s 2015 deal signed by the Obama administration but discarded by Trump in 2018.
After Trump scrapped the deal, he then reimposed strict economic sanctions against Iran, targeting the country’s oil and financial sectors.
Tehran has since exceeded limits to its nuclear activities set under the deal, raising suspicions that it could be using the programme as a cover to develop a nuclear bomb.
But the Iranian government insists it’s nuclear ambitions are peaceful.
The Iran Nuclear deal signed by the US, EU, Iran, China and Russia was designed to constrain the programme in a verifiable way in return for sanctions relief.
Biden said he will open talks with Iran when he takes over the White House in 2021. He promised to resurrect the Iran Nuclear deal and lift sanctions if Tehran returns to “strict compliance with the nuclear deal”.
But Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister has rejected Biden’s plan saying the US had its own “commitments” that must be implemented.
Addressing a virtual conference hosted by Italy on Thursday, December 3, Mr Zarif said the US had been “in grave breach” of a UN resolution endorsing the nuclear deal when it abandoned it, describing the Trump administration as “a rogue regime”.
“The United States must stop, the United States must cease its violations of international law,” he said. “It doesn’t require any negotiations.”
Mr Zarif went on to say that the US was “not in a position to set conditions”.
Biden said to the New York Times this week it was “going to be hard” but “the last goddamn thing we need in that part of the world is a build-up of nuclear capability”.
On Wednesday, December 2, Iran’s parliament passed a bill that would prevent UN inspections of its nuclear sites and require the government to resume enriching uranium to 20% – well above the 3.67% agreed under the deal – if sanctions were not eased within two months.
Uranium enriched to a much higher level can be used in a nuclear bomb, though once 20% has been achieved it is technologically easier to reach that required level of purity.
Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran had more than 12 times the amount of enriched uranium permitted under the Nuclear deal agreement
Bulldog has reacted to viral assertions that he has been sacked by Shatta Wale for the second time.
News went rife days ago that Lawrence Asiamah Hanson aka Bulldog has been sacked for the second time by dancehall artiste Shatta Wale.
This information came from an unconfirmed report of a Facebook post of one social media user with the handle Gizo Gh.
See what he wrote;
Following the intelligence, social media went buzzing leaving netizens shocked and asking questions about the possible deed that might have warranted his dismissal.
Let me take you through a bit of Shatta Wale and Bulldog. In 2015, Shatta Wale kicked out Bulldog from his team stating that he wasn’t adding anything to the team and just enjoying his money.
Bulldog and his Bullhaus Entertainment label in quick response released a press statement to announce the official termination of their contract with the dancehall artiste.
However, Shatta Wale in 2018, signed a deal with Nana Appiah Mensah’s Zylofon Media as at that time Bulldog was the artist and repertoire for the label which meant that he was supposed to work with Shatta Wale.
This reignited their strong and enviable working relationship and even though the Zylofon label is currently crisis-stricken, the two continued working until now.
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Well, days after staying in silence Bulldog has reacted to these claims by Gizo after a fan asked him on social media to confirm the news.
In answering, Bulldog rubbished claims. Though he never stated categorically he has been sacked, his response to the questions sighted seemingly predicate that rumours going round has no truth in it.
See the convo that ensued between himself and a User;