By Emmanuel Obisue
Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, has praised the formidability of air power projected by the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, as a decisive and indispensable aspect of the physical component of combat power critical to the preservation of Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
Dr Badaru also noted that over the years, the NAF has continued to attract tremendous goodwill and credibility to the nation through the provision of airlift and humanitarian support for the United Nations, African Union and friendly African countries.
The minister gave this commendation on Tuesday as Special Guest of Honour at the graduation ceremony of Air War College, AWC, Course 9/2023 held in Makurdi, Benue State.
The minister who was represented by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, noted further that NAF’s premium on operational art, critical thinking and other pragmatic frameworks for military decision-making processes in the curriculum of the AWC would, no doubt, enhance the culture of proactiveness in operational planning and management in the NAF.
This, he said, is indispensable to ensuring national security which is pivotal to the socio-economic development of the nation. “I must also place on record that the NAF has been playing significant and crucial roles in the ongoing counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism operations where its officers and airmen have performed gallantly,” a statement made available by Air NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, quoted the minister as saying.
In his remarks at the Ceremony, Benue State Governor, Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia, commended the Armed Forces of Nigeria for their efforts towards peace restoration in Nigeria.
He also expressed his appreciation to the NAF for their efforts at sustaining and maintaining peace and security in Benue State. “The presence of the NAF in Makurdi gives the people of Benue State a sense of security and an assurance of their safety,” he said.
Similarly, Chief of the Air Staff, CAS, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, stated that the graduation of another set of participants of the Air War College was a major stride in human capacity development in the Service, which is critical to the fulfilment of NAF’s constitutional mandate.
Air Marshal Abubakar also noted that the NAF would be inducting additional platforms before the end of the year to boost training, air power employment and projection. These platforms, according to him, include 2 x Agusta 109 Trekker Multi-role helicopters, 2 x Beechcraft King Air 360, 3 x Diamond DA-62 surveillance aircraft and 6 x T-129 ATAK helicopters.
Other pending acquisitions include 2 x CASA 295 medium airlift/surveillance aircraft, 12 x AH-1Z attack helicopters and 24 x M-346 attack aircraft. These acquisitions, according to the CAS, demonstrate Government’s deep commitment to equipping the NAF for the safe conduct of training and agile airpower employment to meet the nation’s security challenges.
Amongst the 15 graduands is a Cameroonian officer, two Nigerian Army Officers and two Naval Officers.