The Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) delegation that went on tour of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State has made public its observations.
Led by its convener, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili in company of Aisha Yesufu, Ibrahim Usman, a representative of Chibok community, Dr. Manasseh Allen as well as local and foreign media organisations, the group embarked on the January 16 and 17, 2017 guided exercise led by the Minister of Defence, Brig.-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd) and his Information and Culture counterpart, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
In their report, the delegation confirmed interacting with the leadership of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), just as they expressed satisfaction at the personnel and equipment on ground.
“We can confirm that the air component of the counter-insurgency war is being prosecuted by a highly professional, capable, motivated and committed team of NAF.
“Furthermore, the presentation by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on the training and human capital development strategy of the force enabled us to appreciate its plans for the future. We saw that data, knowledge and information analysis play a significant role in the strategy of NAF prosecuting the air component of the war.
“Our exposure to the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform and the technical room of NAF indicated the level of adoption of technology in the prosecution of the war,” the report read in part.
The BBOG team also appreciated the synergy between NAF and the Nigerian Army, which prosecutes the ground component of the offensive.
The report added: “We were provided data and imagery evidence to show that the search for our Chibok girls and other abducted citizens is a daily activity by NAF. The data sheet showing the summary of all search operations was displayed with the following key data points over the last 18 months: Total missions to Sambisa General Area – 2,105, number of sorties— 3,534, time/hour of flight – 6,323, fuel cost: Over N2.4 billion.”
According to the group, the three-hour search flight on the ISR medium at 15,000 feet, provided members the opportunity to have a clear view of the Theatre of War in the once dreaded forest.