The Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos has expressed the desire of the University to have closer ties with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in the area of Research and Development (R&D).
The Vice Chancellor, who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Development Services, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, made this known when she led a team from the University to pay a courtesy call on the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar on Thursday.
The Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), AVM Olatokunbo Adesanya, stated that visiting Vice Chancellor, who used the occasion to congratulate the NAF on the recent induction of its first indigenous operational Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), stated that the visionary leadership of Air Marshal Abubakar was, without doubts, contributing meaningfully to national development.
While noting that the military drives R&D globally, Prof Ogunsola stated that the University of Lagos also possesses required competencies and would love to partner with the NAF to achieve the desired technological development in Nigeria. According to her, challenges serve as a motivation for the University to achieve more, adding that some of the University’s areas of competencies include nanotechnology, coding, cyber security and medical sciences, amongst others. She therefore expressed her belief in a mutually beneficial relationship between the NAF and the University of Lagos possibly leading to investigation of the crashworthiness of NAF’s UAVs and the development of software for UAVs, for examples. Prof Ogunsola also appealed to NAF authorities to encourage its personnel to make use of the University’s various certification programmes to validate their skills, as that would make them relevant both in active service and upon retirement. She then requested that the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between both parties, which would expire in May 2018, be renewed and expanded in scope.
In his response, Air Marshal Abubakar told the visiting Vice Chancellor that it was practically impossible to resolve the nation’s security challenges without a strong and viable Air Force that is capable of effectively projecting air power even beyond our shores. The CAS revealed that the NAF had relied solely on other countries for even the most basic of its aircraft maintenance needs. This, he noted had posed a huge challenge to the effective and efficient delivery of airpower and hence, the need to look inward towards developing indigenous capacity. The CAS remarked that the University of Lagos had on its staff strength, individuals who are familiar with the technological challenges of the NAF and who also possess the skills to resolve them. He mentioned some of the challenges and reiterated the NAF’s desire to leverage on those competencies to address some of its technological needs in line with the subsisting MoU between both parties. Air Marshal Abubakar immediately directed the NAF’s Chief of Standard and Evaluations to commence the process of reviewing the subsisting MoU to expand its scope by including newly identified technical needs of the NAF. The CAS equally seized the opportunity to announce plans by the NAF to hold an R&D Night during which the technological feats of its partnering academic and other institutions would be celebrated.
It is recalled that the NAF has been at the forefront of R&D in Nigeria, especially in aerospace technology and has in the process, signed MoU with several Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions, research agencies as well as strategic industries. The MoUs have so far yielded tremendous benefits in the areas of aircraft and equipment maintenance with attendant positive impact on NAF air operations.