The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, yesterday, 18 July 2019, undertook a tour of the Nigerian Air Force Investment Limited (NAFIL) Tailoring Workshop in the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base Kaduna for an on-the-spot assessment of facilities to ensure full compliance with the Federal Government’s directive for the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) and other security agencies to patronise the Nigerian Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) Industry Sector. While in Kaduna, the CAS also immortalized 2 of NAF’s fallen heroes, Air Commodore Gabriel Ochai, who died during a test flight in Kaduna, and Flight Lieutenant Kalto Kilofas, who was among the crew of the Mi-35M Helicopter that crashed in Damasak, Borno State, by naming 2 newly constructed residential accommodations after them. Four new 3-bedroom bungalows for married officers were named after Air Commodore Ochai, while a block of single-room transit accommodation for single officers was named after Flight Lieutenant Kilyofas.
Conducting the CAS on the tour of facilities at the Tailoring Workshop, the Managing Director (MD) NAFIL, Air Commodore Uchechi Nwangwu, stated that the Workshop, which was established in June 2017, has a staff strength of 68, comprising 38 NAF personnel and 30 civilians, who are dependents of personnel from the Base that were trained in the facility. He said the Workshop had so far produced over 62,000 pairs of uniforms for the NAF and was in the process of completing the production of another 17,900. The MD further noted that, as part of its efforts to meet the requirements for full compliance with the FG’s directive, the Workshop, which was certified by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity as a Trade Test Centre in September 2018, had acquired 34 additional high-end industrial machines bringing its inventory of machines and equipment
to 140. He said this had raised the Workshop’s optimal production capacity from 5,000 to 6,500 uniforms per month. He also mentioned that 4 of the tailors were recently trained in advanced tailoring techniques in China after their initial training by NAF Technical Partners in Aba, Abia State.
At the end of the tour, the CAS expressed satisfaction with NAFIL’s efforts as well as the immense progress made towards ensuring total self-reliance in terms of uniforms production. He said the Workshop could now go beyond sewing regular uniforms to the production of flying and technicians suits as well as other uniform items and accoutrements. Air Marshal Abubakar stated that NAF tailoring services would be further expanded by opening 2 other centres in Makurdi and Lagos to meet the requirements of the Service.
Speaking while commissioning the new residential accommodations, the CAS disclosed that, in his quest to have a professional force, he had taken steps to emplace the right structure, right human capacity, right equipment holding and, more importantly, the right welfare incentives to ensure personnel are properly motivated for effective service delivery. He said, in his view, the human being is the most critical factor in any working system. Accordingly, the current NAF leadership had focused its attention on the provision of befitting accommodation as well as provision of good healthcare and educational facilities for personnel and their families. He said the NAF had therefore established new Reference Hospitals in Bauchi and Daura while the medical centre in Port Harcourt had also been upgraded to a Reference Hospital. Air Marshal Abubakar also noted that the Service had upgraded medical equipment at its various medical centres around the country. In terms of education facilities, he said the NAF has renovated/remodeled and constructed new blocks of classrooms and hostel accommodations in existing NAF schools while establishing 2 new secondary schools. These are the Air Force Girls Comprehensive School Abuja and the Air Force Secondary School (AFSS) Shasha, Lagos. He equally expressed delight that AFSS Kaduna, which was upgraded to a boarding school and renamed Air Force Comprehensive School Kaduna, was also doing well. He remarked that, through massive construction of residential accommodation, the Service had been able to raise accommodation sufficiency from 35 to about 72 per cent, despite almost doubling the strength of its personnel in the last 4 years. He said the NAF would sustain its efforts to ensure that every single personnel is comfortably accommodated. The CAS concluded by commending the efforts of the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command (AOC ATC) and the Commander 435 Base Services Group (435 BSG) for their contributions towards ensuring security in Kaduna State.
The Commander 453 BSG, Air Commodore Idi Sani, while delivering his welcome address, stated that the commissioning was a remarkable milestone by the current NAF administration towards improving the welfare of personnel. He remarked that the number of residential accommodation provided in NAF Base Kaduna in the last 4 years was unprecedented. He therefore pledged the commitment of personnel of the Base to reciprocate the exceptional gesture through unwavering dedication to duty, whilst upholding a high maintenance culture. The Chief of Administration Headquarters NAF, Commandant of Armed Forces Command and Staff College Jaji, AOC ATC, Commandants and Commanders of co-located NAF Units as well as members of Nigerian Air Force Officers’ Wives Association and Airmen Wives Association graced the occasion.
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force