The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is to partner the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in the fight against insurgency in the country.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, stated this in a statement on Saturday by Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information in Abuja.
Abubakar disclosed this when he visited Dr Ali Pantami, Director General of the NITDA in Abuja.
He said it was part of efforts to use grown Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solution to the insurgency fight in the country.
He said that the current security challenges facing the nation could not be effectively tackled without adequate employment of air power.
He observed that this was the reason for the deployment of air assets in virtually all areas where security challenges existed in the country.
He said that this has helped in degrading the insurgents in the Northeast as well as routing banditry in the Northwest and containing other internal security threats in other parts of the country.
The CAS noted, however, that the effective and efficient employment of air power in modern warfare was, in turn, highly dependent on the effective use of ICT in operations.
Abubakar noted, for instance, that the NAF depends on ICT infrastructure for real-time down-streaming of information from NAF Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms to ground stations in NAF Bases.
The air chief said the Base Defence systems at critical NAF Bases in Port Harcourt, Maiduguri and Yola are also ICT based.
He said this had made it imperative for the NAF to develop needed human capacities and employ the relevant technologies that would help sustain the use of air power in the various theatres of operation.
The CAS noted that because of this, the NAF has been building needed capacity of personnel in relevant ICT fields, with some of its personnel recently trained in the United States of America and India.
He, however, pointed out that the Service was seeking for other training opportunities within the shores of Nigeria and therefore solicited the support of NITDA in this regard.
Abubakar also said that the NAF would need the assistance of NITDA in building on some of its ICT related Research and Development (R&D) efforts.
In his response, Pantami expressed delight to receive the CAS in his office and commended the Service for the important role it has been playing in securing the territorial integrity of the country.
He noted that ICT was a critical enabler in virtually all fields of endeavour whether healthcare, education or the military.
Pantami agreed with the fact that it would be virtually impossible to successfully secure a country in this modern era without adequate employment of ICT.
He noted that NITDA was statutorily responsible for the development and regulation of all matters relating to Information Technology in Nigeria and was well positioned to provide necessary support to organisations and individuals.
He said the Agency had assisted a number of Nigerians to record significant breakthroughs in software development, block chain technology, artificial intelligence and robotics, among others.
He said the Agency was more than ready to partner with the NAF in ICT employment for enhanced operational efficiency.
He then advocated the establishment of a joint committee comprising members of the NAF and NITDA to work out the specific areas of collaboration.
Pantami said that some of the Directors of the Agency had earlier spoken on how NITDA’s partnership with the NAF was in consonance with one of the pillars of the National ICT Policy, which focused on enhancing national security.
He also pointed out that the partnership would enable the Agency further push forward its agenda in the areas of ICT adaptation, local content development and human capacity development.
The NAF has, in the past 3 years, established strategic partnerships with several relevant government agencies and institutions aimed at enhancing NAF’s R&D efforts as well as improving overall effectiveness and efficiency.
The most recent of these partnerships was solidified during the CAS’ visit to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)