The government of the United Kingdom and France have commended the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) for its efforts at tackling the myriad of security challenges confronting the country and the West Africa Sub- region.
The commendations came on Friday 22 March 2019 from the United Kingdom’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Nick Carter and his French counterpart, General Francois Lecointre who led a team of military officers from their home countries on a working visit to the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), in Abuja.
The visit provided a unique opportunity for the DHQ to further seek improvement on the existing defence and bilateral collaborations between the AFN and the two countries. This, is to enhance the military operations in the Northeast and other parts of the country. Other areas of collaboration identified during the visit would include training of personnel, acquisition of military equipments and platforms as well as sharing of intelligence amongst the three countries.
Speaking on behalf of his French counterpart, the UK CDS, General Nick noted that available records indicate that AFN remains committed towards ensuring that Nigeria is peaceful. The UK Defence Chief also congratulated the AFN for its efforts in trying to overcome the challenges of Boko Haram in North Eastern Nigeria.
He further pointed out that the joint tour to military establishments in Nigeria was on request of the Nigeria’s CDS, General Olonisakin during a get-together of the Defence Chiefs on the Counter Violent Extremism meeting held at Washington in 2018. He disclosed that the coalition of CDSs from different countries extensively deliberated on the challenges of insurgency and terrorism. He however said that both the UK and French governments would continue to support the operational effectiveness of the AFN towards protecting its territory against violent extremism and terrorism.
Earlier in his remarks, Nigeria’s CDS, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, while advocating for new areas of collaboration with the UK and French governments, expressed appreciation to the Armed Forces of the two countries for supporting the Nigeria Military in achieving its current feats in the fight against terrorism and insurgency in the Northeast of the country.
General Olonisakin also highlighted the major internal security Operations being conducted by the DHQ. Some of which include: Operation SAFE HAVEN in Plateau State, Operation DELTA SAFE in Niger Delta region and Operation WHIRL STROKE in Benue and Nassarawa States. Others are Operation SHARAN DAJI in Zamfara State and the Clearance Operations in Kogi State.
The CDS informed his UK and French counterparts that the Operations are yielding positive results while assuring that the AFN will not rest on its oars in ridding the country of all criminal elements and violent groups. The French Diplomatic Adviser to Nigeria, Mr Jean Marie Magnien accompanied the UK and French CDSs.