By Gift Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA-In a bid to realize it’s drive for human capacity development through robust and result oriented training for enhanced professional performance, the Nigerian Air Force has winged 12 Nigerian and two Liberian Armed Forces student pilots.
The Winging Ceremony which took place on Monday in Abuja, had the Minister of Defence, Alhaji Mansur Dan-Alli, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Mrs Nuratu Batagarawa as the Special Guest of Honour.
The Minister in his remarks, commended the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar for his determination to promote professionalism in the NAF and expressed hopes that the Nigeria-Liberian relationship will blossom to help strengthen the existing collaboration to defeat insurgency and achieve global peace.
While enjoining the winged pilots to remain focused and dedicated on the journey ahead of them, he assured that the federal government remains resolute in its commitment to safeguarding lives and properties and achieving sustainable peace across the length and breadth of the country.
Earlier, the Chief of Air Staff(CAS) Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar urged the winged pilots to be prepared for the task ahead of them as they fit into the operational flying environment.
In his words, “You must not become complacent, knowing that flying operations require discipline, dedication and a lot of hard work. Indeed, your journey to fruitful flying careers is just beginning. You must therefore be mentally prepared for mentoring by your captains and other senior colleagues in the field.
“I urge you not to forget the 3 ‘Ds’ to success, which are Drive, Discipline and Desire in the quest for daily improvement. Remember that you are being inducted into flying operations at a key moment in our nation’s history. Consequently, you would do well to always remember that the hopes of millions are resting on your broad shoulders” he said.
He further tasked them to learn the rudiments of their craft well and be guided by a purpose higher than themselves.
“When you are deployed to operational units, conduct yourselves as professionals, treat innocent citizens with respect and dignity but be very decisive in dealing with those that are out to undermine the security of our people and our nation” he said.
The CAS while appreciating the Liberian Armed Forces for the confidence they displayed by allowing NAF train their first set of pilots, expressed belief that the milestone will help strengthen the relationship between the two nations as more fruitful collaborations are expected.
On his part, the Minister of National Defence, Republic of Liberia, Major General Daniel Dee Ziankahn Junior (Rtd), said the Armed Forces of Liberia will remain indebted to Nigeria and expressed hopes that the relationship will continue.
According to him, “In the lives of the Liberians this is huge, this is the first Air pilots that we have just trained,you have just trained,talking about Nigeria and so they are going to be the trailblazer for our air wing and our Air Force. As a state, Liberia does not have an Airforce, so they will be a trailblazer and we are very elated at this”.
He further noted that Liberia looks forward to a broader relationship with Nigeria and will not stop at this, adding that they will try to seek out more slots so as to build the Liberian Air Force.
The student pilots numbering 14 were trained by the International Aviation College, Ilorin and the African Union Aviation Academy, Mafikeng-South Africa