The Hounourable Minister of Defence (HMOD), Mansur Dan Ali, has charged the newly graduated participants of the Air Force War College (AFWC) Course 4/2018 to continue to strive for excellence and professionalism in the discharge of their constitutional roles.
The HMOD, who was represented by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Olonisakin, stated this during the Graduation Ceremony of the Course, which held today, 16 April 2019, at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base Markurdi. The 6-month Course, which was inaugurated on 10 October 2018, had 18 participants, comprising 2 Group Captains and 14 Wing Commanders from the NAF, one Lieutenant Colonel from the Nigerian Army and one Commander from the Nigerian Navy.
The programme was tailored to equip participants with general knowledge on warfare with emphasis on air power, as well as the fundamentals of Operational Art and Air Campaign Planning.
Speaking further, the HMOD, whilst noting that the NAF and its personnel had displayed commendable professionalism, stated that the Service must sustain its operations to deal decisively with the security challenges facing the Nation. The Minister added that air power, being a critical element of the military component of national power, has remained a formidable force in the preservation of the nation’s territorial integrity.
He therefore commended the gallantry of officers and airmen/airwomen of the NAF in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the country, noting that the Service has played crucial roles in the successes recorded so far in the operations. The HMOD also assured the Service of the current administration’s continued support to the Armed Forces and other security agencies.
In his remarks, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, expressed his delight at how the AFWC training had positively impacted the professional performance and service delivery capacity of successive sets of graduates.
“These improved performances have vindicated our belief in establishing the College to help bridge the observed gaps in quality of officers transiting from tactical to operational and strategic levels in the NAF”, he added.
He said he was delighted that most of these graduates had gone on to excel in subsequent courses, including the National Defence Course.
He noted that this had reinforced his belief that the Service would benefit positively from establishing the College through better strategic planning and implementation of doctrines in the nearest future.
The CAS reiterated that the Service had adopted some measures geared towards building capacity and developing the competences and skills of personnel of all specialties.
According to him, operational capability had received a boost through the increased turnout of pilots and other support personnel.
He observed that in 2018 alone, a total of 3,930 personnel, including 130 pilots on rotary and fixed wing platforms, have undergone various training programmes.
This, he said, was to ensure that the NAF fulfils its mission as well as attains its objectives of securing the lives and properties of Nigerians in concert with sister Services and other security agencies.
Air Marshal Abubakar therefore appreciated the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, whose support and exemplary leadership in the face of compelling economic challenges made the establishment of the College a reality.
Making some brief remarks during the ceremony, the Executive Governor of Benue State, Chief Samuel Ortom, who was represented by the State Deputy Governor, Engineer Benson Abonu, appreciated the NAF for its immense contributions towards ensuring security in the State.
He also lauded the bold initiative taken by the current NAF leadership to establish the AFWC as well as the many other pacesetting, landmark innovations, which he said, had enhanced the stature of the Service and improved its operational effectiveness.
He urged the graduating participants to uphold the high standards of professionalism for which the NAF was known in order to make valuable contributions to national development.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commandant AFWC, Air Vice Marshal Charles Oghomwen, appreciated the Federal Government and NAF Leadership for the encouragement and support that had enabled the College to continue to broaden the knowledge and enhance the capacity of successive sets of participants in air operations while also providing impetus for improved inter-Service coordination during joint operations.
He advised the graduands to continue to build their capacities even after graduation, as knowledge acquisition was a continuous process.
One of the highlights of the ceremony was the presentation of prizes to participants who had distinguished themselves during the course.
In this regard, Wing Commander Uchechukwu Ajaero won the Best all Round Award for emerging first in order of merit on the course and also won the Best in Air Power Award, while Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Grema bagged the CAS’ Best Sister Services Participant Award and Group Captain Abraham Sule won the Award for the Best Individual Research Paper.
Other dignitaries at the event included the representatives of the Chiefs of Army and Naval Staff, members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of the Tor Tiv and Ochi Idoma, the Vice Chancellor Benue State University as well as several senior military officers, both serving and retired.