The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (Rtd) says a full fledged Nigerian Army Aviation is a critical component in the counter- terrorism and counter-insurgency campaigns in the country.
General Magashi stated this when the Commander US Africa Command, General Stephen Townsend and his team paid a courtesy call on him at the Ministry of Defence Headquarters, Abuja.
He said Nigeria will appreciate the US intervention to fully establish the Aviation Unit of the Nigerian Army as a force Multiplier in the on-going fight against ISWAP/terrorists in the country.
The Minister of Defence on behalf of the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari thanked the United States of America for its technical and manpower training supports towards enhancing the nation’s capacity and capabilities to end insecurity bedevilling the country.
While recalling specific instances of US strategic supports to the Nigerian Military, he mentioned progress recorded in the supply of Super Tulcano aircraft, Thunder Boat for Maritime Operations and logistics to the Multinational Joint Task Force, MNJTF for enhanced combat efficiency and effectiveness.
On human rights issues he informed the delegation of the US AFRICOM which include US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, Foreign Policy Adviser, Russell Schiebbel and US defence Adviser to Nigeria, Colonel Andrew Clerk that the Nigerian Military is adopting international best practices to reduce collateral damages in the fight against terrorism.
On his path the Commander US AFRICOM, General Stephen Townsend eulogised the leading role Nigeria is playing in Africa Sub regional security matters and assured the government of support at all times.
General Townsend commiserated with Nigeria over the aircraft misharp that claimed the lives of seven crew members onboard the plane.
The courtesy call earlier began with a closed door session between the Defence Minister, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (Rtd) and the Commander US AFRICOM, General Stephen Townshend.