The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar on Saturday, said that the Nigerian Air force had trained no fewer than 611 personnel for force protection and securing critical national assets.
Abubakar disclosed this during the combined graduation of Basic Regiment Officers’ Course 14/2019, Advanced Regiment Airmen Course 3/2019, Basic Regiment Airmen Course 27/2019 and others at the Regiment Training Centre NAF base in Kaduna.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the training was jointly organised by the NAF and British Military Advisory Training Team.
He said: “Today’s graduation marks another milestone in the progress made towards revitalising the NAF Regiment and repositioning the Regiment Specialty to play their roles of force protection and security of NAF assets.
“This combined graduation ceremony is also in line with my vision to reposition the 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 defence imperatives.
“Our current security environment, with its attendant threats and challenges to NAF bases and infrastructure, has also brought to the fore, the need for the NAF to be able to not just project air power but adequately ensure the protection of NAF air assets in furtherance of national security imperatives.’’
The CAS said that a well-protected Air Force was a formidable force capable of carrying out its air power roles unhindered.
Abubakar said it was in recognition of this that the NAF took the initiative to enhance the security of its Bases and air assets against external attacks while at the same time improving operational efficiency.
He said: “In order to achieve the desired level of security, the NAF has since 2015 increased the strength of the Regiment Specialty with many of these Regiment personnel trained as Special Forces.
Others, including some personnel from the Air Provost and Intelligence specialties, have been trained in FPCAGE”.
Abubakar said further that besides those graduating, the NAF had trained 2,872 FPCAGE personnel, already contributing their quota to the defence of its bases and critical national infrastructure.
He urged the personnel to imbibe and internalise the values of the military profession of loyalty, discipline, integrity and accountability, decisiveness, courage, teamwork and excellence.
Abubakar assured that the NAF leadership was committed to enthroning professionalism, adding “the rigorous military training you received was designed to enhance your professional performance.
He said: “I therefore implore you to put all that you have learnt while on your various courses to maximum use to safeguard lives and property within your various areas of responsibility.
“Furthermore, you must avoid any acts capable of denting the image of the NAF and abide by your rules of engagement when deployed while at the same time submitting yourselves to civil authority.
“Always remember that your duty is to protect all Nigerians, irrespective of their ethnic background or religious inclination.”
The Air chief expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for the priority attention given to the training, operational and other requirements of the Nigerian Air Force.
He said: “The support provided by the Federal Government has no doubt positively impacted on the Nigerian Air Force, especially in the areas of training, enhanced operational efficiency and improved provision of welfare and other services.
“I also want to use this opportunity to thank BMATT for their efforts and dedication towards sustaining our partnership and collaboration towards building the capacity of the Nigerian Air Force in the area of force protection.”
He also commended the team of BMATT instructors for its dedication, hard work and commitment to the training package in the RTC.
He said: “It is my sincere hope that we will continue to build on, and sustain our very cordial and long-standing cooperation and relationship, especially in this era when the threats to our collective peace and security have become dynamic and multi-faceted.’’
Earlier, the Commandant RTC, Wing Cmdr Kehinde Akinyosade, said security personnel protecting Airforce assets were now required to study the environment, to develop effective measures to mitigate threats and hazards to NAF assets.
Akinyosade said that to further develop personnel capacity for force protection, NAF signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the British Military Advisory Training Team to train the force regiment personnel.