One of the prerequisites for the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to continually meet the imperatives of its constitutional roles is an adequate strength of vibrant manpower. To this end, as part of the ongoing process of building and sustaining the necessary human resource base to meet national security imperatives, the NAF has graduated another set of recruits, comprising 1,558 young men and women of Basic Military Training Course (BMTC) 39/2018. The colourful Passing Out Parade (POP), which took place today, 14 September 2018, at the NAF Military Training Centre (MTC) Kaduna, had the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, as the Guest of Honour and Reviewing Officer. In his address at the occasion, the CAS disclosed that the NAF had trained a total of 7,244 young Nigerians as airmen/airwomen and 400 young graduates as officers since assumption of office of the current NAF leadership in July 2015. According to him, the effort is aimed at boosting the capacity of the Service to sufficiently curtail insecurity in the country while also implicitly keying into the Federal Government policy of job creation for young Nigerians.
While charging the new airmen/airwomen to be resilient, tough, courageous and apolitical in the performance of their duties, Air Marshal Abubakar stated that the 6 months training was deliberately structured to be rigorous in order to expose them to near real-life scenarios of what the nation expects from them after graduation. He affirmed that the NAF would continue to encourage personnel to be innovative and subordinate their personal interests to those of the Service and the Nation. Speaking further, the CAS reminded the graduands of the enormous tasks ahead of them as they are joining the Service at a time when the Armed Forces is involved in several operations to curtail insecurity across the country. “As the gains of our troops are being consolidated, you may be deployed to the operational theatre to contribute your quota to our national security. I urge you to operate within the rules of engagement as enumerated in the code of conduct for armed forces personnel involved in internal security operations. You must respect and protect the innocent and law abiding civilians whom you are paid to defend. Treat them with respect and protect their rights. It is by so doing that you will be discharging your professional and constitutional duties”, he said.
Air Marshal Abubakar, while reiterating the need for NAF personnel to submit themselves to civil authority in accordance with democratic tenets, also warned the passing out recruits not to allow themselves to be used by any subversive elements in the society to compromise national security. “We must therefore resist the temptation to brutalize or engage in physical contacts with civilians. Our duty is to protect all Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic, religious or political inclination”. The CAS then expressed the profound gratitude of the NAF to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for continually giving priority attention to the operational and logistics needs of the Service. He pledged NAF’s unalloyed loyalty and total commitment towards ensuring the peace and prosperity of the nation.
One of the highlights of the event was a silent drill demonstration by the passing out recruits. The ceremony also featured the presentation of awards to the 3 best graduating recruits. The award recipients were Aircraftwoman Rita Offormah, Aircraftman Victor Achilonu and Aircraftman Ebenezer Makinde, who won the CAS, Air Officer Commanding Ground Training Command and Commandant’s Awards for emerging first, second and third in order of merit. It is noteworthy that this is the second time in history and second consecutive year that a female graduating recruit has won the CAS Award. The ceremony witnessed large turnout of dignitaries including the representative of the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, serving and retired senior officers as well as families and friends of the newly enlisted airmen and airwomen.
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force