The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has tasked newly graduated personnel of specialized sundry courses at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), Kaduna to be innovative, focused and bring the skills acquired during their training to bear in the discharge of their technical duties in support of air operations. The CAS stated this today, 7 August 2020, at the graduation ceremony of 123 personnel of sundry courses at AFIT. The graduates have successfully completed intermediate courses in Aircraft Maintenance, Aerospace Ground Equipment, Automech as well as Logistics and Supply Chain Management after 6 months of intensive training. It will be recalled that the CAS was in AFIT on 7 July 2020 to graduate 82 personnel who completed the Intermediate and Advanced Communication and Information Systems specialists courses.

The CAS, who is also the Chairman of the AFIT Governing Council, was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Oladayo Amao, at the well attended event. The CAS emphasized that the development of skilled technical manpower for effective and efficient maintenance of NAF platforms has been the core responsibility of AFIT noting that the successful execution of the counterinsurgency operations in the Northeast and other military operations across the country has remained the focus of his administration since 2015. “As a highly technical force, capacity building initiative is crucial to reducing dependence on foreign expertise and building the confidence of our personnel.” He further stated that the air operations in the Northeast and other parts of the country were glowing testament of capacity building initiatives to reposition the Air Force into a highly professional and disciplined force that would respond efficiently, effectively and in a timely manner to national security challenges. He commended AFIT for doggedly continuing with the training of personnel in line with the guidelines of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, despite the constraints imposed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While congratulating the graduands, the CAS reminded them of the need to always remember that the NAF expects a high standard of service delivery from them. He noted that the scope of the NAF’s operations was dynamic and the sophistication of the platforms and equipment required to prosecute them were becoming increasingly complex. He therefore charged them to bring to bear the knowledge and skills they had acquired during the training in the discharge of their duties to enhance operational capacity of the Service. “In the next few days, some of you will be deployed to support ongoing military operations either directly or indirectly. You would be expected to remain disciplined, highly focused and innovative”, he added.

The CAS thanked the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his unfailing support to the NAF and belief in the preparedness of the Service to help quell the insurgency in the North East and other restive areas in the country. He noted that the President had not relented in his desire to secure the borders and communities and restore normalcy to troubled zones. The CAS therefore seized the opportunity to reiterate the loyalty, mission readiness and commitment  of the NAF to rapidly deploy men and materials to curtail banditry as well as other forms of criminality across Nigeria. Air Marshal Abubakar equally acknowledged the invaluable support and contributions of all staff, both military and civilian, who, he said, had shown uncommon commitment to furthering the lofty ideals of AFIT. He also thanked former Commandants of the Institute and other retired military officers who still contribute to the welfare of AFIT through ideas, books and journals.

In his welcome address, the Commandant AFIT, AVM Abdulganiyu Olabisi, while appreciating the current NAF administration for its support in the successful conduct of the courses, stated that the objective of the courses was to improve on the skills acquired by the airmen and airwomen from their basic training. The additional skill and knowledge, he said, would enable them carry out more specialized functions as they handle higher responsibilities. He also noted that the Intermediate training in aircraft maintenance was tailored towards reinforcing safety practices and quality assurance in line with international best practices. According to him, logistics remains a key element in the timely execution of operations as it ensures that manpower and support equipment are available in the right quantity and condition at the time and place where they are needed for operational use. He stressed that the Intermediate Logistics Course was accordingly structured to expose the students to warehouse management, storage and transport procedures as well as requisition processes. He noted that AFIT emphasized in no small measure the culture of zero tolerance for indiscipline and all forms of malpractices in order to promote and inculcate the core values of ‘Integrity’, ‘Excellence’ and ‘Service Delivery’.

Highlights of the graduation ceremony were the conferment of certificates on the graduating students as well as the presentation of awards to the best graduating students in each of the sundry courses. Other dignitaries present at the ceremony were the Rector Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Representative of the Executive Secretary National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command, Commandant Armed Forces Command and Staff College Jaji, Representative of the Commandant Nigerian Army School of Infantry as well as Commanders of co-located units and other serving and retired senior military officers in Kaduna.

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