By Emmanuel Obisue
Nigeria’s Chief of the Air Staff, CAS, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar has stated that the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, has adopted measures aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change, which have significantly exacerbated the various security challenges in the country.
Air Marshal Abubakar stated this on Tuesday while delivering a lecture via zoom, to participants of the Senior Executive Course 45 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, Kuru, Jos, a statement made available by NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said.
In his lecture titled, “Industrialization, Energy, Security and Climate Change: The Role of the Nigerian Air Force”, the CAS noted that though climate change is not directly responsible for conflicts, it has substantially compounded existing causal agents of conflicts. The conflicts, he said, subsequently reduce people’s ability to cope thereby creating further conflicts.
“For instance, irregular and extreme weather at Lake Chad is destroying the profitability of traditional fishing and farming, thus reducing the economic prospects of young men in the area thereby making them more susceptible to recruitment by violent extremists”, he noted.
The consequence, according to the CAS, was its negative impact on national security leading to humanitarian crises, terrorism and insurgency.
To mitigate the effects of climate change on national security, Air Marshal Abubakar stated that NAF kinetic and disaster relief operations as well as green practices and technologies were adopted. Through kinetic operations, the NAF has continued to create favourable ground situations for surface forces to operate and recover lost territories from terrorists and insurgents. Kinetic efforts have also contributed to degrading the fighting will and capabilities of terrorists, insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and oil thieves thereby creating a safer and more secure environment for economic and industrial activities to thrive.
Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar noted that the NAF has made deliberate efforts to integrate climate change considerations into its operations and planning. These, he said, led to NAF participation in the 2021 Global Air Forces on Climate Change organized by the Royal Air Force, United Kingdom.
The CAS also disclosed that the NAF was exploring converting existing vehicle fleets to using zero or low-carbon emission fuels such as compressed natural gas and liquid petroleum gas. He stated further that the NAF has implemented some projects to improve its environmental performance and reduce its carbon footprint such as installation of solar panels and recycling of wastes as well as enforcement of tree planting in all its units across the country. “The NAF has established solar panel-based micro grids in the Headquarters and remote bases and installations to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The implementation of the innovative paperless system at NAF Headquarters in May 2023, which has conserved about 300 cartons of paper since initiation, is also worthy of note, the CAS said.