(with additional reporting by CHANNELS TELEVISION)
15 May, 2013
Pakistan has pledged to cooperate fully with Nigeria to enable the West African nation’s Air Force achieve its full potentials. This indication was given here Tuesday by the Pakistani Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, at the start of a five-day
official visit to Air Force facilities in
Nigeria. The visit is also aimed at strengthening military cooperation between the two countries.
At a meeting here with top Nigerian Air
Force officials, Air Chief Marshal Butt
‘literally gave an open check of cooperation to the Nigerians’, saying that “the Pakistani Air Force and the Defence Industries of Pakistan will not hold anything back from the Nigerian people and the Nigerian Air Force. When we cooperate more, we will develop to reach higher heights.’ He pledged to work out “precisely what to do to help the Nigerian Air Force achieve its full potentials’.
PANA reports that Pakistani Air Force
personnel are already in Nigeria working with their Nigerian Air Force counterparts on the maintenance of equipment. Specifically, two Pakistani pilots are in the base of the Chinese jet fighter fleet, the F-7NI and FT-7NI jets, providing technical assistance on the aircraft. They were brought in following the spate of crashes and loss of maintenance schedules on the fleet. The problem with the maintenance of the
F-7s caused their grounding last October. They were, however, cleared to resume flying following the assistance of the Pakistani Air Force.
Speaking at the meeting, the Nigerian
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex
Sabundu Badeh, lauded the Pakistanis for their cooperation with Nigeria.Badeh said that in the maintenance of
the F-7 aircraft, “you (Pakistanis) sent
teams that looked at them and told NAF
what to do. We already have instructor
pilots on the F-7s. We are looking for
further assistance on the C-130 aircraft as we need an instructor pilot on the C-130.”
Air Chief Marshal Butt later held a
meeting with top officials of the Defence Headquarters, led by the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim. During his visit, Butt is expected to travel to three operational commands of the Nigerian Air Force – the Tactical Air Command in Makurdi, the Training Command in Kaduna and the Logistics Command in Lagos.
Channels Television reports monitored by Beegeagle’s Blog indicate that “Nigeria agreed to strengthen military ties with Pakistan through training and supply of defence equipment.”