The Executive Governor of Plateau State, Right Honourable Simon Lalong, has commended the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for the giant strides made in the emplacement of infrastructure in NAF schools across the Country while also lauding the immense contributions of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) towards defending Nigeria’s territorial integrity and ensuring the security of Nigerians. According to him, “the CAS has been busy going round NAF formations across the Country to inaugurate similar projects as well as devoting significant attention to operations against terrorists, bandits and other criminals threatening the peace of our Nation”. The Governor stated this today, 10 March 2020, during the commissioning ceremony of newly completed projects at the Air Force Girls Military School (AFGMS) and Air Force Military School (AFMS), both in Jos. The projects commissioned included a newly constructed obstacle course, a Military Training Wing Building, street lights project, exit gate and the newly remodeled Alpha and Dornier Squadron Hostels at AFGMS as well as the newly renovated Puma Squadron Hostel for students at AFMS.
Speaking further, Governor Lalong noted that the commissioning was a testament that the NAF was fast evolving and transforming in tandem with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari to make it one of the best on the Continent. He recalled that the NAF had, in 2018, commissioned several welfare-related infrastructure projects at the 205 Combat Search and Rescue Group (205 CSARG) Kerang, which, he said, was glowing evidence of the commitment of the NAF leadership to the welfare of its personnel and a reflection of its determination to ensure a secured Nigeria. The Governor stated that, considering the number of key projects executed at the schools, the undertaking would not only benefit NAF personnel but also children of host communities as well as the wards of other Nigerians attending the schools. According to the Governor, the projects would go a long way in improving the welfare of the Junior Airmen/Airwomen (JAM/JAW), thereby motivating and encouraging them to focus more on their studies. He further noted that the Plateau State Government, on its part, has continued to give priority attention to enhancing access to education while taking steps to improve quality and standards in schools by revamping dilapidated schools and building new ones.
The Governor seized the opportunity to appreciate the role of security agencies in the restoration and consolidation of peace in Plateau State. He observed that the Award recently presented to him as the “Best Governor of the Year 2019 for Peace and Security in Nigeria” was no doubt due to the collective effort of all stakeholders in the State, especially the security agencies. He emphasized that the NAF, in particular, played a very crucial role in the successes that had been recorded. Governor Lalong therefore commended the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Ground Training Command (GTC) and the Commander 551 NAF Station as well as their officers and men for their efforts in ensuring security in the State.
Speaking to the Press after the commissioning, the CAS remarked that the NAF, in realization of the fact that the human being is the most critical success factor in any endeavour, has continued to dedicate resources to ensure its personnel are properly trained and their children well educated. He said this underscored the focus on emplacing adequate infrastructure in all NAF schools to ensure effective teaching and learning. Air Marshal Abubakar equally noted that the lack of access to quality education was one of the causative factors of insecurity because illiteracy predisposes youth to negative influences that often result in criminal activities. He stressed that the NAF would therefore continue to ensure that its schools provide qualitative education to children and wards of members of host communities as part of its contribution to national development.
Earlier in his welcome address, the AOC GTC, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Idi Amin, said it was gratifying to note that the 551 NAF Station Jos, like many other units under GTC, has benefited immensely from projects executed by the current NAF leadership in the last 4 and half years. While giving a rundown of some of the recent projects, the AOC recalled that in October 2019, Headquarters NAF built and commissioned 2 blocks of 10 x one-bedroom well-furnished accommodation for single officers in Jos. The objective, he said, was to ease accommodation challenges faced by officers posted to Jos as part of the CAS’ overall personnel welfare philosophy. He noted that the CAS had again commissioned 3 blocks of 10 single bedroom flats for airmen instructors at Regiment Training Centre (RTC) Kaduna on 8 February 2020. He added that several infrastructural development projects would also be commissioned at the RTC the following day, 11 February 2020. These, he said, included a 500 capacity auditorium, 400 capacity Dining Hall and 4 x 80 capacity classrooms, all fully furnished.
AVM Amin further noted that the recent approval of the total renovation of 3 blocks of classrooms for Air Force Primary School Jos as well as the landscaping of the entire school were additional indications of how much importance the CAS attaches to education and well-being of the children and wards of personnel, particularly the girl-child. The AOC GTC subsequently pledged the Command’s commitment to achieving its objective of training quality manpower in non-technical ground trades in keeping with the NAF’s core values of ‘Integrity’, ‘Service before self’ and ‘Excellence in all we do’. He also thanked Plateau State Governor for his continued support to the NAF while reassuring him that the NAF would continue to do everything within its power to ensure the security of lives and properties of the good people of Plateau State.
Dignitaries who graced the occasion included the Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Professor Sonny Theoden, the Speaker, Plateau State House of Assembly and other members of the Plateau State Executive Council. Also present at the event were Branch Chiefs from Headquarters NAF; the General Officer Commanding 3 Division Nigerian Army; AOCs of Air Training Command and Special Operations Command; the Commander Operation SAFE HAVEN;
Commanders of Military Formations and Heads of Para-military Organizations in Plateau State as well as members of the Ex-JAM and Ex-JAW Associations.