The Minister of Defence (MOD), Major General Bashir Magashi (retired) has commended the leadership of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), led by the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for its capacity building initiatives and infrastructural development efforts towards improving the living standards of personnel for enhanced professional performance.
He made the commendations during the combined graduation ceremony of 162 personnel from Special Forces (SF) Course 5/2019 and 46 from the Helicopter Backdoor Gunners (HBDG) Course 5/2019 at the Regiment Training Centre (RTC) Annex in Bauchi State.
He said: “I believe that the achievements recorded by the NAF are results of your intensive efforts towards repositioning the Service to adequately respond to Nigeria’s security imperatives.”
The Minister specially applauded the NAF for training 10 Nigeria Police Force (NPF) officers alongside NAF personnel as HBDGs.
According to him, “this singular act, not only promotes inter-Service cooperation but will go a long way in substantiating the fact that no Service can single-handedly prosecute a war or conduct an operation without the support of the other.”
He therefore commended the NAF’s efforts at rapidly developing special operations capabilities to a strength of over 1,000 SF personnel, deployed in various theatres of operation within the country.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar said he established the Quick Response Units across Nigeria for rapid response and deployment of air assets during crises.
He said this was achieved through collaboration with the British Military Advisory Training Team (BMATT) and an Israeli Firm, the Four Troops Company, for initial in-country training of SF personnel as well as the eventual training of SF instructors.
Speaking further, Air Abubakar noted that the NAF has once again demonstrated the importance of synergy in training, with the involvement of 10 personnel of the NPF on the course.
“It is believed that other sister security agencies would key in to this arrangement in the future,” he added.
The occasion featured tactical demonstrations by the graduating students at the NAF Commando Village.
Awards were also presented to graduating students who distinguished themselves on the course, which included an Outstanding Bravery Award for the first NAF female Regiment Rappel Instructor and first female Backdoor Gunner, Lance Corporal Basirat Salaudeen.