- Wings 11 new pilots
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on Wednesday said that Nigeria’s air assets are not enough to fight insurgency and protect the country’s territorial integrity.
He said though Nigeria has an arsenal of weapon to fight aerial battle, there is the need to complement this with adequate capacity development of air force personnel for the nation to effective combat insurgency.
According to him, the Nigerian Air Force is investing heavily in capacity building and training of its officers and men to enable the force discharge its responsibility effectively and efficiently.
He said the human capacity development efforts of the present leadership of the Air Force have greatly enhanced force projection capability not only within Nigeria, particularly in the Northeast, but beyond the shores of the country.
Air Marshal Abubakar stated these at the NAF Headquarters, Abuja, during the decoration with new wings, 11 officers who had just completed their pilot training programmes in South Africa.
He said: “Section 217 Sub Section 2b of the 1999 Constitution as amended assigned the role of protecting Nigeria’s sovereignty and integrity by air on the Nigerian Air Force.
To discharge its responsibility as entrenched in ‘ Section 217 sub section 2b of the 1999 Constitution as amended, he said “Nigerian Air Force relies on air assets fighter aircraft, helicopter gunships and other platforms to discharge this responsibility. Air assets alone however without adequately trained pilots cannot enable Nigerian Air Force to effectively discharge this Constitutional responsibility.
“It is against this background that NAF embarked on human capacity development in all NAF Specialties.
“We are exceedingly delighted to have before us today the products of this effort. We are expecting additional 10 pilots from International Aviation College in Ilorin and four pilots from South Africa to complete their training in February 2018.
“By end of February therefore, the NAF would have successfully winged 72 pilots. Furthermore, there are an additional 74 pilots that are training to qualify for awards of NAF wings.
“Out of this number 64 are training in Nigeria while the remaining 10 are training outside Nigeria. In the area of Instructor Pilot Training, the NAF has trained 23 Instructor Pilots in the last two years while seven are currently undergoing training abroad with three in United States and four in Jordan.
“Our training efforts in Kaduna have been greatly enhanced with the acquisition of 10 Super mushshak trainer aircraft.
“Also in Kano, all hands are on deck to increase the number of Serviceable L-39ZA aircraft for basic fighter training. Due to increase in number of Serviceable A-Jets, the NAF has commenced advanced fighter training locally in Nigeria. These achievements will no doubt save the nation scarce resources required to train outside.”