By Gift Samuel, The Sight News
The Chief of the Air Staff, (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar has concluded a 2-day maiden working visit to units under the recently established Air Training Command (ATC) of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) as well as to other collocated NAF units in Kaduna.
He also visited other units under ATC but located in Kano. The purpose of the visits was to enable the CAS obtain first hand information on the state of facilities at the various units and identify the challenges being faced. The visit was also to enable him directly interact with officers and airmen/airwomen of the units in order to address matters that could affect the morale and productivity of personnel of the units visited.
While briefing the CAS before the tour of the various units in Kaduna, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) ATC, Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Idris, stated that the Command had indeed benefitted from several projects initiated under the current NAF leadership. He identified such projects to include additional residential accommodation, construction of perimeter fencing, renovation of the hangar for the newly inducted Super Mushshak trainer aircraft and the construction of road networks at the recently relocated NAF Institute of Safety (NAFIS).
The AOC also expressed appreciation to the CAS for quickly embarking on the building of a befitting Headquarters Complex for the Command. In addition, the AOC identified some of the challenges facing the units in Kaduna, especially inadequate supply of electricity and water, with attendant effect on training and aircraft maintenance activities.
He then thanked the CAS for regularly making funds available for running power generators, which had been facilitating water supply to the barracks in Kaduna. Thereafter, Air Marshal Abubakar led a team of senior officers from HQ NAF on a tour of all the NAF units in Kaduna.
Notable among the places visited were the workshops of the Air Force Research and Development Centre (AFRDC), where NAF personnel were engaged in various research activities. The CAS also inspected the three DO-228 aircraft that were recently handed over to the NAF by the Nigeria Immigration Service.
Furthermore, he inspected ongoing reactivation of various aircraft as well as several building projects in different units. In addition, he briefly interacted with NAF personnel who were undergoing flying, aircraft maintenance, safety and Special Forces training at respective institutions on the Base.
Air Marshal Abubakar was able to identify challenges in the various units and training institutions visited and he immediately directed concerned officials to initiate steps towards resolving them.
While speaking with newsmen, the CAS stated that it was important to visit the Kaduna Base, where the NAF trains pilots, aircraft and armament engineers, Special Forces, new recruits, among others. He observed that there would always be challenges in every developmental endeavour and that he was in Kaduna to identify current challenges with a view to addressing them.
Air Marshal Abubakar identified the welfare of personnel and their dependants as being critical to the achievement of NAF objectives and hence, his decision to also focus on welfare-related issues on the Base.
On Day 2 of the visit, the CAS had 2 interactive durbars at Kaduna, first with the airmen and airwomen before later holding the second durbar with commissioned officers. During the durbars, Air Marshal Abubakar intimated the personnel with the latest developments in the NAF.
He then gave the personnel the opportunity to either mention issues bordering them or suggest ways of improving the NAF. The subsequent interactive session was quite revealing and the CAS was able to address the issues raised, to the delight of the personnel.
The CAS and his team later departed for Kano, where they visited 403 Flying Training School, 455 Base Services Group, 465 NAF Hospital and the Air Force Comprehensive School in Kano.
The visit again afforded the opportunity to identify challenges and initiate steps to resolve them. In addition, the CAS held a durbar with the officers, airmen and airwomen of the units in Kano, following the pattern of the ones earlier held in Kaduna.
It would be recalled that ATC was recently unbundled from the erstwhile Training Command, a development that led to the reorganisation of the Command for increased efficiency. The 2-day working visit was first official visit to the Command since its creation. The CAS and the team of senior officers from the NAF Headquarters have since returned to Abuja.