The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao has stated that the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) remains a veritable avenue for the training and retraining of skilled technical manpower for the Nigerian Air Force (NAF). He also noted that the Institution has continued to contribute immensely to NAF’s current status of being largely self-reliant and almost completely dependent on own personnel for platforms and equipment maintenance. Air Marshal Amao stated this earlier today, 8 October 2022, while presiding over the graduation ceremony of 460 NAF personnel who completed Sundry Courses in AFIT for 2021/2022 Academic Session. He went on to note that additional to the prestige and confidence gained from such self-reliance, the NAF has also built internal capacity for certain levels of training, thus eliminating needless foreign training and exchange in areas that the NAF possesses such internal capacities. Air Marshal Amao also praised the efforts of the Institution at enhancing the standard of learning noting that, ‘While training NAF personnel to meet the technical manpower requirement of the Service, there has been a significant paradigm shift in AFIT.’ This, according To the CAS, ‘Is due to its focus on practical aspects of training occasioned by the recent change in the curricula of the sundry courses pursuant to deliberately bridging the gap between theory and practice.’
While commending the Commandant of the Institute, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Muhammed Yakubu, the CAS noted with delight his efforts towards mitigating some of the pressing challenges of the Institute especially with regards to ongoing infrastructure upgrade and improvements, as well as new projects that are springing up around the Institute. The CAS also seized the opportunity to commend the lecturers and instructors for their diligence and sacrifices towards producing quality technical manpower for the NAF. He then urged them to constantly improve on the standards towards ensuring that AFIT graduates are up-to-date and in tune with global best practices in aircraft and equipment maintenance. For the graduating personnel, Air Marshal Amao reminded them of the enormous investment made by the NAF in bringing them to their current level of technical knowledge and expertise. Such professional competences, according to him, were necessary to guarantee optimum aircraft serviceability and availability in furtherance of Nigeria’s National security imperatives especially now that the NAF is required to operate optimally in order to effectively address the current spate of insecurity across the nation.
In his welcome address, AVM Muhammed Yakubu noted that despite AFIT’s expansion to a degree awarding institution and the increase in its mandate, it has remained focused on its primary role of producing quality technical manpower for the NAF and the nation at large. He then added that it was in fulfilment of its role that 460 NAF personnel who have completed the Initial Officers’ Course and various Basic as well as Advanced/Intermediate Upgrading Courses comprising 22 officers and 438 airmen/airwomen were graduating. AVM Yakubu also informed the gathering that under his watch as the Commandant, the Centre for Technical and Vocational Training, was created to oversee all aspects of military technical and logistics training in the Institute. He also added that the initiative aptly tallies with the vision of the CAS to ‘Enhance and sustain critical airpower capabilities required for joint force employment in pursuit of national security imperatives’ as well as his aspiration to make the Institute the best in Nigeria and among the top-rated universities in the world.
It should be noted that AFIT has continued to serve the technical and logistics training needs of the NAF since its establishment as Technical and Supply School in 1977. Through the years, the increase in scope of NAF training required vis-a-via the increase in the number of personnel requiring the training as well as the routine reorganization of the Service have necessitated various upgrades to the school; first to Technical Training Group and eventually to the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). In line with the successive upgrades, AFIT was first accredited to award National and Higher National Diplomas by the National Board for Technical Education, with NAF personnel being the major beneficiaries. After the presidential assent to the AFIT Act in 2017, and the subsequent accreditation by National Universities Commission, AFIT became a degree awarding Institution open to students from across the Nation and overseas. AVM Muhammed Yakubu is the 11th Commandant of the Institute.