The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) yesterday graduated 626 regiment personnel, 134 personnel of the air police unit and nine intelligence specialties.
The officers and airmen/airwomen graduated in different fields, including the Basic Regiment Officers Course 13/2018, Advanced Regiment Airmen Course 1/2018 and Basic Regiment Airmen Course 26/2018 at the Regiment Training Centre, Kaduna.
Addressing the graduating officers at the combined graduation ceremony of officers and airmen/airwomen, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, noted that the Regiment Training Centre had remained a centre of excellence in the pursuit of ground combat skills training for the Nigerian Air Force.
He said the combined graduation ceremony was another milestone in its achievements, addjng that the tempo should be sustained.
The CAS said, “This is remarkable because it is our deliberate policy to train personnel of regiment, air police and intelligence specialties together for complementary roles in the Base Defence Architecture. In this light, let me acknowledge the contributions of our training partners – British Military Advisory Training Team (BMATT) and the Four Troop Team – for the great jobs that they are doing.
“Since the NAF entered into partnership with these training teams, particularly BMATT in 2015 to train our personnel in Force Protection in Complex Air and Ground Environment (FP-CAGE), we have so far trained 2,251 personnel in this regard. I am therefore happy to note that the collaboration between our organisations have been mutually beneficial.
“Since my assumption of office, the Nigerian Air Force has continued to build a sustainable and functional air force that will be highly responsive to our contemporary security challenges. We have continued to invest in capacity building aimed at generating combat forces that are capable of securing own bases against all forms of hostile elements.
“Accordingly, we have undertaken several air and ground related capacity building initiatives. This is to significantly enable the Nigerian Air Force have depth, flexibility and capability to operate either singly or jointly with our sister Services and other security agencies”.
Abubakar disclosed that the desire to make the Nigeria Air Force the best in the sub region necessitated new platforms, equipment and specialised training, adding that within the available resources of government, NAF has enjoyed tremendous support from government.
“On our part, we will continue to support federal government policies and continue to conduct operations ranging from humanitarian services, peace enforcement to counter insurgency operations in furtherance of our national security and developmental objectives”, he stated.
He applauded the graduating students for working hard, even as he said their commitment, high-discipline and determination, through which they have met the standard required, brought them to this level.
The CAS said, “I am sure you have imbibed the attributes of the military profession, which include absolute loyalty, discipline, honesty, intelligence, physical fitness, accountability, decisiveness, teamwork, and courage among other values. I want you to note that it is the possession of these virtues that binds all ranks in the Service.
“Our administration is committed to enthroning professionalism and as such, the rigorous military training you received was designed to enhance your professional performance. I therefore implore you to put all that you have learnt while on this course to maximum use to safeguard lives and property within your area of responsibility.
“Let me remind you that you will be deployed to the field at a time when our nation is facing security challenges. You must therefore be disciplined, vigilant and guard your utterances and conduct at all times. You must not allow yourself to be used by ‘disgruntled elements’ in the society.
“Also, you must submit yourselves to the civil authority and protect our democracy. In addition, you must avoid acts capable of denting the image of the Nigerian Air Force. Always remember that your duty is to protect all Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic background or religious inclination. You must strive to add value to the Nigerian Air Force in whatever capacity you may find yourself”.
He pledged the unalloyed support of the Nigerian Air Force towards federal government’s policy thrust to improve the economic, social and political development of the country.
The CAS also commended the British Military Advisory and Training Team (BMATT) and the Detachment Commander of No 5 Royal Air Force, Force Protection Wing, Wing Commander Kevin McMudro for their dedication, hard work and commitment to the FP-CAGE training package at Regiment Training Centre.