The newly commissioned Nigerian Air Force (NAF) officers of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Regular Course 66 have been charged to be diligent, committed and resolute in the discharge of their military duties and responsibilities to the Nation. The charge was given today, 7 October 2019, by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Olonisakin, who represented the President, Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, as the Special Guest of Honour (SGOH) at the commissioning/pipping and oath taking ceremony of the 111 graduating NAF cadets at the NAF Base, Kaduna.
Congratulating the NAF cadets, who were commissioned into the rank of Pilot Officer, the SGOH reminded them of the challenging but rewarding nature of the military career, noting that with the quality of training they had received, they would be able to cope with the demanding tasks ahead. While challenging them to brace up for the rigours of military service, the CDS reminded the young officers that they were being commissioned at a time when the country is tackling various security challenges such as terrorism, insurgency, kidnapping, armed banditry, communal clashes, cultism, militancy as well as herdsmen-farmers clashes. “Let me emphasize that the Armed Forces of Nigeria has recorded tremendous progress in degrading the capacity of Boko Haram terrorists thereby ensuring the territorial integrity of the Country. In this regard, the ambitions of our detractors to destabilize the Country have been dismantled, even though they continue to instill fear among the civil populace by attacking soft targets, carrying out hit and run attacks on isolated military formations and utilizing social media propaganda to disseminate fake news”, the CDS said.
Furthermore, the SGOH reminded the newly commissioned officers that, as young commanders, they would be entrusted with the responsibility of human and material resource management and would therefore be required to remain fair and mindful of their integrity. He equally urged them to imbibe and uphold the ethics of the military profession which include discipline, loyalty and hard work “You should also be firm and resolute in ensuring that the right things are done while eschewing what is wrong. You have to be frank in dealing with all situations with truthfulness and honesty and must work assiduously towards achieving organizational goals,” he added.
The SGOH commended the NAF for working assiduously to checkmate the security challenges facing the Nation. He noted with emphasis the efforts of NAF pilots who have continued to bomb centres of gravity and hideouts of insurgents and criminal elements. He stated that it was on record that over the past 4 years, the NAF has continued to reactivate grounded aircraft and induct new platforms while still adequately meeting the administrative and welfare needs of its personnel. More commendable, according to him, is the fact that the achievements were recorded with limited resources available to the NAF. While congratulating officers who distinguished themselves during the Course, the CDS charged award winners to see the awards as an incentive towards excellence and enhancing their confidence towards effective service delivery. For the rest, who did not win any award, the CDS encouraged them not to despair noting that they had fought a good fight having completed the Course with acceptable grades. Concerning the use of the social media for propanganda by criminal elements, the SGOH tasked the newly commissioned officers to acquire in-depth knowledge of how to apply social and digital media to win the war, alongside use of sophisticated weapons.
Speaking further, the CDS commended the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for providing inspirational leadership for the NAF. The recent induction of new platforms and re-activation of long grounded aircraft, the CDS noted, is a confirmation of the CAS purposeful leadership. The SGOH equally commended the Air Officer Commanding Ground Training Command as well as the Commandant and staff of the Military Training Centre (MTC), imploring them to continually strive to devise ways of improving the quality of training. He added that the Federal Government would continue to give priority attention to the operational requirements and the welfare of the personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
Highlights of the commissioning ceremony included the presentation of NDA rings and conferment of Presidential Commission on the officers as well as the unveiling of ranks of the newly commissioned officers by their family members and friends. The SGOH also administered the Oath of Allegiance and presented Presidential Parchment of Commission to all the 111 new Pilot Officers, which included 7 female officers. Awards were also presented to officers who distinguished themselves on the course, with Flight Cadet (now Pilot Officer) Ja’afar Abdulkadir clinching the C-in-C’s award for emerging as overall best graduating cadet. Dignitaries at the event included the representatives of the Executive Governor of Kaduna Sate, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence, Chiefs of Army and Naval Staff as well as the Emir of Zaria. The Deputy Speaker Kaduna State House of Assembly, Emir of Kuje, the Commandant NDA and Commandants of other Tri-Service and NAF institutions, along with many serving and retired senior military officers, were also in attendance.
It is pertinent to note that under the current arrangement, NAF Regular cadets spend their final year of training at the MTC and are given basic specialist training in their various allotted Air Force Specialties. This is to prepare them for prompt deployment, upon commissioning, to serve in various capacities commensurate to the training they have received. As part of activities marking the graduation and commissioning ceremonies of the Air Force cadets, a Regimental Dinner Night was earlier held in their honour on 2 October 2019, where the CAS, represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Headquarters NAF, Air Vice Marshal Napoleon Bali, advised the graduating cadets to provide cost effective solutions to enhance self-reliance in their various areas of expertise. He also urged the graduating cadets to show good example both in conduct and character by abiding by NAF’s core values of ‘Integrity first’, ‘Service before Self’ and ‘Excellence in all we do’.
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force