The President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, has charged the newly commissioned Nigerian Air Force (NAF) officers of Direct Short Service Commission (DSSC) Course 29/2020 to positively deploy the knowledge acquired during their training to defend the territorial integrity and national interests of Nigeria. The President gave this charge today, 8 August 2020, during the Passing Out Parade (POP) of 114 DSSC officer cadets held at the NAF Base, Kaduna after 6 months of rigorous and intensive military training at the NAF’s Military Training Centre (MTC). The successful completion of military training of the officer cadets, which comprised 2 medical consultants, 14 medical and veterinary doctors, 20 nurses and 78 other medical specialists, is another laudable step taken by the current NAF leadership as part of its human capacity building initiatives to meet the Nation’s security challenges.
While congratulating the newly commissioned officers for withstanding the rigours of the training, the Reviewing Officer/Special Guest of Honour (SGOH) at the colourful POP, who was represented by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Olonisakin, reminded them that the occasion was just the beginning of yet another challenging but rewarding career as young officers in the NAF. He further reminded them that the military profession requires absolute discipline, loyalty and hard work, among other virtues. He noted that these virtues were even more critical at this crucial point when the Nation is battling with the challenges of insecurity and the NAF, along with sister Services, is expected to secure the lives and properties of Nigerians to peacefully pursue their individual legitimate aspirations. “Such noble service demands exceptional courage, commitment and patriotism and Nigeria will continue to demand such qualities from you”, he added.
Speaking further, the SGOH emphasized that the Government was doing so much to confront the security challenges bedeviling the nation by taking necessary measures to safeguard lives and properties and to drastically cut off all forms of criminality. “I gladly inform you and indeed all Nigerians that the NAF is consistently supporting these Government efforts. Therefore, as you graduate, I urge you all to positively deploy the training that has been inculcated in you to defend the territorial integrity and national interest of our dear country”, he reiterated. The SGOH also urged the young officers to do their best to further enhance the NAF’s efforts towards boosting qualitative healthcare for personnel, their dependants and members of NAF’s host communities, including sustaining medical outreaches for civilians and victims of insurgency and banditry. “This pragmatic approach to promote civil military relations will go a long way in winning the hearts and minds of the communities, thus assisting in timely containment of insurgency, banditry and other security challenges”, he said.
The newly commissioned officers were further reminded of the need to subject themselves to both military and civil laws and protect the Nation’s growing democracy. While urging them to be vigilant and guard their utterances and conduct at all times, the SGOH also reminded them of the need to know the limits of their freedom of association and expression which must be matched with responsibility to maintain national security. “You must also not allow yourself to be used by some elements in the society to compromise national security or act in ways capable of denting the image of the Armed Forces. Your duty is to protect all Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic background or religious inclination. Your loyalty must therefore never be in doubt at any point in time as an officer”, he added.
The SGOH commended the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, for supporting members of the Armed Forces operating within the State. He also commended the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for his judicious use of available resources and robust capacity building initiatives responsible for a disciplined, highly professional and timely deployable air force. He equally extolled the efforts of the Commandant MTC and his team of officers and men for the successful completion of yet another training, whilst assuring them of his continued support to sustain their training efforts.
One of the highlights of the POP was the presentation of awards to deserving passing out cadets. Among the award winners were Cadet (now Flying Officer) Mbam Ndubisi who won the President, Commander-in-Chief’s Award for coming first in order of merit, while Flying Officer Lekon Mustapha won the Honourable Minister of Defence Award for coming second in order of merit. Other award winners were Flying Officer Samaila Yusuf, who came third in order of merit, winning the CDS’ Award, and Flying Officer Ummu Muhammed, who won the CAS’ Award for coming fourth, while Flying Officer Abdulkadir Ahmad won the Commandant MTC’s Award for exhibiting exceptional leadership qualities in the course of training.
After the colourful parade, the passing out cadets were conferred with the Presidential Commission into the NAF and decorated with their new ranks of Squadron Leaders, for the consultants, and Flying Officer, for all others, by their respective family members and well-wishers. After administering the oath of allegiance on the newly commissioned officers, the SGOH presented them with their parchments of commission.
Another major highlight of today’s event was the Research and Development (R&D) Exhibition/Display which featured some of the recent R&D breakthroughs of the Air Force Research and Development (AFRDC). These included a locally developed Hexacopter capable of carrying weaponized payloads; locally designed test bench for hydraulic accumulator diaphragm of the L-39ZA aircraft and a locally produced voltage/frequency converter for aircraft ground support activities. Other R&D feats displayed were the 6-tube rocket launcher developed by AFRDC for the Bell-412 helicopter; locally produced heat shield protective cone for Alpha Jet rocket pods as well as the locally designed and produced 30.1mm rocket launcher/rockets. The SGOH was also briefed on the progress of work on the development of 18-tube rocket launcher for the Alpha Jet aircraft as well as other Armament-related R&D efforts.
The Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, was represented at the event by the Commissioner of Internal Security, Mr Samuel Aruwan. Other dignitaries present were the Chairman Senate Committee on Air Force, Distinguished Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah; the Deputy Chairman House Committee on Air Force, Honourable Abbas Adigun; the Director Air Force, Ministry of Defence; Representatives of Chiefs of Army and Naval Staff and the Inspector General of Police as well as the Representative of the Emir of Zazzau, along with many other senior military officers and families and friends of the newly commissioned officers.
Other activities held in honour of the newly commissioned officers, as part of the week-long ceremonies, were the Regimental Dinner Night held on 4 August 2020 and the Beating of the Retreat, which took place on 5 August 2020.