In furtherance of its continued efforts to build the capacity of its personnel for the effective protection of its bases and air assets as well as improve its capability to tackle the current security challenges in the Country, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) today, 6 December 2019, graduated 717 personnel, comprising 623 Regiment and 94 Air Police personnel, trained in Force Protection in Complex Air-Ground Environment (FP-CAGE). The combined graduation of Basic Regiment Officers’ Course 15/2019, Advanced Regiment Airmen’s Course 4/2019, Basic Regiment Airmen’s Course 28/2019 and the FP-CAGE Course 9/2019, which took place at the Shittu Alao Hall, Regiment Training Centre (RTC), Kaduna, brings the total number of personnel trained in FP-CAGE since the NAF entered into partnership with the British Military Advisory Training Team (BMATT) in 2015 to 3,629.

Speaking during the graduation ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, stated that the RTC has remained a centre of excellence for the impartation of ground combat skills to Regiment personnel for the protection of NAF Bases and aircraft as well as other critical national assets. He said the inclusion of the Air Police and Intelligence personnel in the training has also ensured better synergy in force protection delivery and appropriate delineation of responsibilities for complementary roles in NAF Base Defence Architecture. He observed that the quality of the training delivered by the RTC has been quite evident in the exemplary performance of Regiment personnel currently deployed in 10 ongoing operations across the country in the fight against insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality. Air Marshal Abubakar pledged that the NAF would continue to reinvigorate capabilities as well as develop additional skillsets to counter prevailing security challenges in the Country.

While congratulating the graduating students on their achievement, the CAS urged them to continue to submit themselves to civil authority and strive to protect Nigeria’s democracy at all times whilst remaining vigilant and guarding against being used by ‘disgruntled elements’ in the society. Air Marshal Abubakar also seized the opportunity to thank the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his continued support to the NAF. He equally commended the efforts of the Air Officer Commanding Ground Training Command (AOC GTC) as well as the Commandant and staff of RTC for a job well-done. Furthermore, the CAS specially thanked and commended BMATT, especially the Detachment Commander of No 5 Royal Air Force, Force Protection Wing, Squadron Leader Nathan Foster, for his dedication, hard work and commitment to the FPCAGE training. “It is my sincere hope that we will continue to sustain our long-standing cooperation and relationship with the Government of the United Kingdom”, he said.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the AOC GTC, Air Vice Marshal Idi Amin, stated that the RTC’s curriculum was continuously being revised in response to combat experiences and requirements to make the training more effective and realistic to meet the evolving complexities of operational environments. He said he was therefore confident that the graduating students had acquired the necessary skills to be effective in securing NAF Bases and assets while at the same time supporting sister Services and security agencies in internal security operations across the country. He however highlighted that the commendable achievements recorded by the RTC would not have been possible without the unwavering support of the CAS, which had ensured an enabling environment for the timely, qualitative turn out of well-trained Regiment personnel. He therefore expressed his profound gratitude to the CAS for his determined focus on capacity development of NAF personnel.

As part of the ceremony, the graduating students had earlier conducted an exercise simulating the countering of an insurgent threat to the Base by an FPCAGE Team supported by an Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft. Another highlight of the graduation ceremony was the presentation of awards to students who distinguished themselves during the various courses. Dignitaries that graced the occasion included the Commandant Armed Forces Command and Staff College Jaji, Brach Chiefs from Headquarters NAF, the AOC Air Training Command, the United Kingdom’s Defence Adviser in Nigeria as well as Commanders of co-located NAF Units in Kaduna, among other senior serving and retired officers.

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