The technical manpower of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) received a major boost as 628 personnel successfully graduated from the 2022/2023 Sundry Technical Military Programmes offered at the prestigious Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). In his speech at the graduation ceremony held earlier today, 9 September 2023, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, who was represented by the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command, Air Vice Marshal Nnamdi Ananaba, stated that sundry technical programmes offered by AFIT have continued to enhance the quality of skilled technical manpower of the NAF. This, he continued, has largely contributed to the NAF’s current status of being more self-reliant for its platforms and equipment maintenance. He went on to note that aside the prestige and confidence gained from such self-reliance, the NAF have also built internal capacity for some levels of training, leading to the elimination of the cost of foreign trainings in areas it possesses internal capacities, thus conserving scarce foreign exchange. Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar noted that the graduation ceremony aligns with his command philosophy of, “Transforming the NAF into an agile and resilient force that effectively meets the air power demands of national security in all operational environments”. In the same vein, he added, AFIT being NAF’s foremost training institution is well positioned to facilitate one of the key enablers of his philosophy which is “deliberate training and mission-oriented force development”.
To the graduands, the CAS reminded them of the importance of enhancing their professional competencies, which was necessary to guarantee optimum aircraft serviceability and availability in furtherance of Nigeria’s national security imperatives. According to him, “This is more so at a time like this when we need to operate optimally in order to effectively address the current spate of insecurity across our dear country.” He then went on to state that the era of treating criminal elements in our country with kids’ gloves is over, hence the need to continue on this trajectory until they are brought to their knees. The CAS then thanked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his unwavering support to the Armed Forces and the NAF in particular, without which the current level of operational successes would not have been possible.
Earlier, the Commandant of AFIT, Air Vice Marshal Sani Rabe, noted that the 628 graduands consisted of 37 officers, who have completed the Initial Officers’ Course, and 591 airmen/airwomen who have completed various Basic as well as Intermediate and Advanced Upgrading courses. He noted with delight that the Institute also trains foreign personnel from sister African countries as 4 officers from Ghana Air Force and 3 Airmen from Tanzanian Air Force were part of the graduating students. The Commandant further stated 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. He then noted that having gone through various stages of upgrades and accreditations, AFIT received Presidential Assent to the AFIT Act in 2017, followed by its accreditation by the National Universities Commission as a full-fledged degree awarding Institution open to students from across the Nation and abroad.
The graduation ceremony was witnessed by senior military officers from within and outside Kaduna as well as government dignitaries and traditional rulers.