By Gift Samuel
The Nigerian Air Force Air War College (NAFAWC) on Friday graduated the first set of participants in Makurdi, Benue State.
The NAFAWC was established on September 5, 2016 in fulfillment of the aspiration of the Chief of Air Staff to reposition the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) into a highly professional and disciplined force through capacity building initiatives for effective, efficient and timely employment of air power in response to Nigeria’s national security imperatives.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Defence, Muhammad Mansur Dan-Ali, who was represented by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Olonisakin, stated that the participants have been prepared and adequately equipped for national service.
General Olonisakin added that the knowledge of the participants would be required in joint military operations in general and airpower in particular.
The CDS also used the occasion to commend the successes being recorded by the NAF in its air operations in the Northeast.
According to him, “As the air arm of Armed Forces, the NAF has been playing a crucial role in the counterinsurgency operations in the Northeast where our officers, airmen and airwomen have performed gallantly.”
In his remarks, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar expressed confidence that the graduating participants had been given the necessary training and knowledge to effectively understand the intricacies of air operations.
He said, “I am convinced that the product of this College is comparable to the product of any air war college around the world.NAF will continue to make the College environment comfortable and conducive for teaching and learning through the improvement of facilities and teaching aid”.
The CAS stated that the course was to bridge the gap existing between senior staff course training and the National Defence Course.
Earlier, the Commandant of NAFAWC, Air Vice Marshal James Baba, said the participants had been adequately trained in the College and were ready to contribute their quota to the effective employment of air power in Nigeria and beyond.
He disclosed that the pioneer Course was inaugurated on 18 November 2016 with 29 senior military officers drawn from the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and the NAF. The participants were exposed to airpower concepts, principles and operations as well as air elements, assets and related issues during the six-month duration of the programme.
Highlights of the graduation ceremony included the conferment of Air Force War College Certificate(AFWC) on the graduating participants and presentation of awards. Group Captain Olayinka Oyeshola emerged as the best all-round participant while Group Captains Michael Ekweme and Simon Peter won the Chief of Air Staff and NAFAWC Commandant awards respectively.