How we’ll respond to airport terrorism - Nigerian Air Force | Nigeria News Today. Your online Nigerian Newspaper


The Nigeria Air Force (NAF) yesterday conducted a counter-terrorism simulation exercise involving the insertion and extraction of Special Forces operating in conjunction with other security agencies to flush out terrorists and ensure normalcy at airports.

The exercise, code-named “Steel Dome “, meaning “Fortified Arena” was conducted by men of the Air Force Regiment – a special force operations team, comprising commandos and specially trained officers deployed in counter-terrorism.

The Air Force Regiment was founded after the breach of the Air Force Base in Maiduguri, Borno State, on December 2, 2013, by Boko Haram insurgents. Since then, the regiment has deployed Special Forces personnel throughout the country.

The counter-terrorism simulation, according to the Air Force Director of Public Information, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, provides answer to the question: “When you have a terrorist situation in your airport, what do you do?” Steel Dome shows what the NAF will do.

The exercise began with a briefing by Air Commodore Olusesan Idowu, director, NAF’s Regiment Headquarters in a small room at the northern corner of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The briefing highlighted objectives of the exercise, which include: “Practice individual/group skills in the planning, coordination and execution of counter-terrorist operations; Understand requirements and challenges involved in the coordination and conduct of counter-terrorism in concert with other security agencies.”

Others are: “Derive lessons to guide the Directorate of Regiment in drawing up a doctrine and planning guide for the conduct of airport counter-terrorism; and Reaffirm NAF’s commitment to support civil authority in times of national emergencies.”

About 40 Special Forces men were involved in the rescue operations of passengers.

Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar said the exercise would be continuous, adding that lapses would be rectified.

“I am happy we have been able to test the plans we have for this airport and whatever gaps there are we will go back and fix it. The evaluators are here to see if the plan can be effective. What we want is to have a force that will be effective in the event of attack on our airport; you can have the training, you can have the skills, unless you are tested from time to time you won’t be able to know if there will be gaps,” he said.

Abubakar said he would test the cooperation of other agencies to know where there would be problems and how to fix it.

“The essence is to ensure there are no gaps, and we need to have the cooperation of other agencies; coordination with other agencies must be evaluated from time to time to know if there will be problems in a real situation. What I have seen this morning, I am satisfied, I want to appreciate the airport authority and other agencies, the Army and the Navy are here with us and other agencies.”

He, however, denied that NAF is anticipating an attack on one of the nation’s busiest airports, insisting the exercise is a test.

’’We are not anticipating anything; as I said this is just an exercise, it is important that you evaluate your plans from time to time, this is not because we are anticipating anything. We have at least an idea of what is likely to happen should there be this kind of situation, we pray that we don’t have this kind of situation but we must be prepared to also be there should it happen.

“We will go beyond what we are doing here. We will look for other airports. This is just within the terminal building; assuming we have terrorists coming from the other end of the runway, can we deploy our aircraft to be with them even before they get to the terminal building?

“We are starting with Nnamdi Azikiwe. We are going to Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano, and we have enough Special Forces trained to undertake this kind of operation. We have deployment in most of our airports, they are in different parts of the country and can be mobilised,” he said.

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  1. NAF needs to be serious for once. If you expose your strategy, the enemies will re-strategize. Keep military strategies to yourself and be proactive and not reactive. The simulation is all about what you will do when terror strikes. What we need is how to prevent terror from happening. If terrorist strikes, all you see is casualties. At that stage NAF intervention is useless.


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