By Sumaila Ogbaje
The technical manpower of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has graduated 628 personnel from the 2022/2023 Sundry Technical Military Programmes at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT).
This is contained in a statement by the Director, Public Relations and Information, NAF, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, on Saturday in Abuja.
According to the statement, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, was represented by the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command, AVM Nnamdi Ananaba, at the event.
The air chief said the sundry technical programmes offered by AFIT continues to enhance the quality of skilled technical manpower of the NAF.
Abubakar said the programme had largely contributed to the NAF’s current status of being more self-reliant in the maintenance of its platforms and equipment.
According to him, aside the prestige and confidence gained from such self-reliance, NAF has also built internal capacity for some levels of training, leading to the elimination in cost of foreign trainings.
The CAS said that the training aligns with his command philosophy of “Transforming the NAF into an agile and resilient force that effectively meets the air power demands of national security in all operational environments”.
He added that AFIT, being NAF’s foremost training institution is well positioned to facilitate one of the key enablers of his philosophy which is “deliberate training and mission-oriented force development”.
Abubakar urged the personnel to continue to enhance their professional competencies, which he said is necessary to guarantee optimum aircraft serviceability and availability in furtherance of national security imperatives.
According to him, this is more so at a time like this when the country needs to operate optimally in order to effectively address the current spate of insecurity.
He said that the era of treating criminal elements with kids’ gloves is over, hence the need to continue on that trajectory until the enemies of Nigeria are brought to their knees.
The CAS thanked President Bola Tinubu for his unwavering support to the Armed Forces and the NAF in particular, without which he said the current level of operational successes would not have been possible.
Earlier, the Commandant of AFIT, AVM Sani Rabe, said the 628 graduands consisting 37 officers, who had completed the Initial Officers’ Course, and 591 airmen/airwomen who had completed various Basic as well as Intermediate and Advanced Upgrading Courses.
Rabe said the institute had been training foreign personnel from sister African countries, adding that four officers from Ghana Air Force and three Airmen from Tanzania Air Force were part of the graduating personnel.
He said that AFIT had continued to serve the technical and logistics training needs of the NAF since its establishment as Technical and Supply School in 1977.
He added that AFIT received Presidential Assent to the AFIT Act in 2017, followed by its accreditation by the National Universities Commission as a full-fledged degree-awarding institution open to students from across the nation and abroad.
The graduation ceremony was witnessed by senior military officers from within and outside Kaduna as well as government dignitaries and traditional rulers. (NAN)