Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette Ibas has declared that the nation would have found it much difficult and challenging in overcoming the counter-insurgency challenges in the North East if not for the technical and precision firepower as well as surveillance capabilities of the Nigerian Airforce.
Speaking at the ‘Winging’ of 10 new Pilots of the Nigerian Air force who recently concluded flight training from Westline Aviation in South Africa, Vice Admiral Ibas commended the doggedness and commitment of his counterpart and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar in ensuring and sustaining capacity building for the NAF.
Noting that the impressive strides in NAF’s human capacity development through focused and result oriented training for professional performance, Ibas said, “It is most encouraging that the dividends of your (CAS) investments have not been too long in coming. We cannot but credit your invaluable role in the maintenance of national security and stability”.
The CNS added, “I dare say that the course of the counter-insurgency operations would probably not have been as promising without the indispensable and ubiquitous air support.
“In the same vein, your (NAF’s) operations in supporting capacity against the various illegalities in the nation’s maritime domain and participation in regional exercises have been invaluable in shaping operational space of this much abused expanse”
“In this regard, I pay tribute to your contributions, which have been great enablers in the fight against such ills as piracy, crude oil theft and illegal bunkering, and your spectacular performance in Exercise Obangame”.
“Also of note is your inspiring quest for an improved technological base to narrow the nation’s armed forces logistics gap, especially in the provision of hardware and weapons system” the CNS said.
To the young pilots, the Naval Chief said, “It is within this setting that the young pilots being winged must appreciate their new status and role. It is instructive that your induction coincides with a very challenging period where the NAF platforms are actively engaged in combat air operations”.
“You cannot but flow with the momentum established and stand ready for duty at all times. I therefore charge you to be hardworking and above all disciplined”.
On his part, the CAS Air Marshal Abubakar noted that his administration deliberately focused on human capacity development of personnel in order to bestow to the NAF, a cream of well trained personnel that meet international standards.
Disclosing that “We are committed to repositioning the NAF and placing it on a glorious path”, Abubakar said, “So far, the NAF has done creditably well in discharging her duty at the ongoing Operation Lafiya Dole in the North East, Operation Delta safe in Niger Delta, Ops Sharan Daji in North West and part of North Central, Ops Awatse in South West and Ops Safe Heaven in Plateau State”.
“The crop of pilots amongst other personnel undertaking daring mission in the midst of real danger are testimonies of the quality of training provided by the NAF” he said.
Continuing Air Marshal Abubakar said, “I am delighted to be winging another set of pilots having recently conducted similar exercise at the NAF Day Celebration in Makurdi.
“Apart from the pilots winged today, there are presently 11 student pilots in South Africa. These officers are expected to complete their training and due to return early next year January. Additionally, the NAF has eight (8) students pilot currently training with the United States Air Force.
While charging the young pilots to be prepared for the onerous task ahead as they fit into the operational flying environment, the Air Chief said, “You must open your minds to learn and be mentored by your seniors. Flying operations requires a lot of discipline, hard work and diligence to make you succeed. Therefore do not forget the 3 ‘Ds’ which are ‘Drive, Discipline and desire to be better every day”.
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