By Paul Michael, Defence Editor, Abuja
The honourable Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (Rtd), has charged newly recruited officers of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on the need to be diligent in their duties, saying the military is a job that requires discipline, hard work, loyalty and seriousness.
The Minister stated this during a Passing Out Parade (POP)) held on Saturday, 30 April 2022, at Nigerian Air Force Base, Kaduna, were additional 1,549 recruits of Basic Military Training Course 42/2021 and 49 branch commission officers of Course 1/2022 were graduated to boost the Force’s manpower.
While delivering his address, the Minister, who was the Reviewing Officer, advised the graduands not to see the military profession as just another job, but as one that demands all seriousness, especially at this crucial time when the Nation is battling the challenges of insecurity on several fronts.
Magashi, who was represented by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, also reminded them that the military as a noble profession demands extraordinary courage, commitment, and patriotism. Adding that Nigeria demands such qualities from them and will continue to count on their services.
The Reviewing Officer also noted that the training they have received was deliberately made to be demanding to simulate, as closely as possible, the real-life scenarios they were likely to encounter going forward.
“Indeed, while they have every reason to feel proud and fulfilled for what they have achieved, it also marked the beginning of another challenging but rewarding phase of their careers as officers and airmen/airwomen in the NAF,” he said.
He encouraged them to ensure optimal utilization of resources while subordinating their personal interests to those of the Service and the Nation.
According to him, “Above all, you must exhibit the core values of ‘Integrity’, ‘Service before Self’ and ‘Excellence’ for which the NAF is known.”
The Reviewing officer also appreciated the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Mohammadu Buhari, for his unflinching support to meet the Armed Force’s operational and logistics requirements in general and the NAF in particular.
He commended the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao for providing the right leadership to his officers, airmen and airwomen.
According to him, “I have noted with satisfaction, measures that you have emplaced to engender transparency, accountability, and prudent utilisation of resources for optimal results. I implore you not to relent and assure you of my continued support to sustain your capacity development efforts.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the CAS stated that the ceremony marked the first time the NAF was solely training and graduating Branch Commission cadets, believing that the enlistment of duly qualified airmen/airwomen as officers through Branch Commissioning will bolster morale towards more hard work, excellence and loyalty in the NAF.
Amao also added that the NAF has since taken cognizance of its primary duties in the maintenance of security and promotion of peace in the country which, he said, has been facilitated through the active support of the Minister of Defence.
“I, therefore, make bold to say that the NAF is poised to enhance and sustain critical airpower capabilities required for joint force employment in pursuit of national security imperatives,” he stated.
Air Marshal Amao appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for his tremendous support to the NAF in the last 7 years towards accelerated capacity development of the Service through the acquisition of new platforms such as the J-F17 Thunder Multi-role aircraft and the Super Tucano ground attack aircraft.
He also revealed that the Federal Government was on the verge of procuring additional combat platforms for the NAF. These include the DA-42 surveillance aircraft, A109 Trekker attack helicopters and Beechcraft KA-360i surveillance aircraft.
A day earlier, the Guest of Honour at the Regimental Dinner organized for the graduating Branch Commission Cadets, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, who was represented by the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Sam Aruwan, reminded the cadets that their graduation was just the beginning of yet another challenging but rewarding phase of their careers in the NAF.
He then urged them to see their new status as an opportunity to make more significant contributions to national development bearing in mind that the military is a catalyst for national cohesion, which is a critical prerequisite for ensuring a peaceful and prosperous nation.
While admitting that Kaduna State has enjoyed a good working relationship with the NAF, through the Air Components of Operations Thunder Strike, Safe Haven, Badamamaki and the 271 Detachment in Birnin Gwari, he noted, however, that there were undoubtedly room for more radical and innovative approaches and solutions towards solving the myriads of security challenges in the State.
He thereafter challenged the graduands to contribute their quota by bolstering existing efforts, while injecting fresh ideas based on their own distinctive perspectives.
According to him, “All of these must be brought to bear in your future assignments and deployments to various theatres of operations to deal with the threats confronting our Nation, in order to restore peace to troubled areas.”
He, however, sounded a note of caution, stating that, “Your duties will not only require personal professional competence but will also test your abilities to effectively lead men in the field. You are therefore expected to ensure that you show good examples in both conduct and turn-out. An excellent way to show this is by embodying the core values of the Nigerian Air Force: Integrity, Service before Self, and Excellence.”
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