The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has tasked newly commissioned Nigerian Air Force (NAF) officers of Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Regular Course 65 to play their part in defending Nigeria’s territorial integrity as well as her national values and aspirations. The CAS stated this today, 13 October 2018, at NAF Base Kaduna while representing the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, as the Special Guest of Honour at the pipping and oath taking ceremony of 62 graduating air force cadets. While congratulating the newly commissioned officers for withstanding the rigours of training, the CAS reminded them of the challenging tasks ahead of them. According to him, “you must be aware that you are expected to secure lives and property by ensuring that every Nigerian lives in peace and is free to pursue his or her legitimate aspirations. Such a noble duty demands extraordinary courage, commitment as well as patriotism, and Nigeria will continue to count on you and indeed, demand such qualities from you”, the CAS said.
While reminding the newly commissioned officers of the various security challenges facing the country, Air Marshal Abubakar emphasised the need for them to be professional in their conduct. He charged them not to allow themselves to be used by some disgruntled elements in the society to compromise national security or act in a way capable of denting the good image of the Service. He also reminded the young officers that Service personnel are subject to both military and civil laws. He therefore stressed the need for them to subordinate themselves to civil authority and protect Nigeria’s growing democracy. Furthermore, the CAS charged the young officers to maintain good civil-military relations while also guarding against overzealousness and resisting the temptation to be abusive of the civil populace. “Your duty is to protect all Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic background or religious inclination. Also, you must not succumb to any inducement or acts that would cause disaffection amongst fellow members of the Armed Forces”, he reiterated. Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar noted that, in line with the current realities, the NAF had re-ordered its priorities to ensure optimal use of available resources through the adoption of measures to engender transparency and accountability. He therefore charged the newly commissioned officers to be prudent in order to do more with resources provided while also embracing the policy of zero tolerance for corruption.
While concluding his remarks, the CAS expressed his profound gratitude to the President Muhammadu Buhari for continually giving priority attention to the operational requirements and personnel welfare needs of the Armed Forces. He also appreciated the Executive Governor of Kaduna State for supporting units and formations of the Armed Forces operating within the state. Air Marshal Abubakar equally commended the efforts of the Commandant NDA as well as the Air Officers Commanding Air and Ground Training Commands and the Commandant Military Training Centre (MTC) for their various roles in providing a conducive environment that ensured the successful completion of the training of the newly commissioned officers. He implored them not to relent in their efforts to revolutionize training to meet emerging challenges.
Highlights of the pipping and oath taking ceremony included the conferment of commission, unveiling of ranks of the newly commissioned officers by their family members and friends, administration of the Oath of Allegiance as well as presentation of Presidential Parchment of Commission. Out of the 62 newly commissioned officers, 61 are Nigerians, including 8 female officers; while one is from the Republic of Togo. It is noteworthy that under the current arrangement, NAF Regular cadets spend their final year of training at the MTC NAF Base Kaduna and are given basic specialist training in their various allotted Air Force Specialties. This is to prepare them for prompt deployment, upon commissioning, to serve in various capacities commensurate to the training they have received. While in Kaduna, the CAS also commissioned a ‘Hall of Fame’ at Headquarters MTC, which was initiated by the Commandant of the Centre, Air Commodore Paul Masiyer. Dignitaries present at the pipping ceremony included the Director Air Force Ministry of Defence as well as the representative of the Executive Governor of Kaduna Sate and representatives of the Emir of Zaria and Chiefs of Army and Naval Staff, along with many serving and retired senior military officers.
In a related development, as part of activities marking the graduation and commissioning ceremonies of the air force cadets, a Regimental Dinner Night had earlier been held in their honour on 8 October 2018, where the CAS, represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Headquarters NAF, Air Vice Marshal Muhammadu Muhammed, had advised the graduating cadets to provide cost effective solutions to enhance self-reliance in their various areas of expertise. The CAS also advised the graduating cadets to show good example both in conduct and character by adhering to the NAF’s Core Values of ‘Integrity First’, ‘Service before Self’ and ‘Excellence in all we do’.
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force