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Prioritising capacity building of Air Force personnel

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Prioritising capacity building of Air Force personnel

Air safety and leadership capability received boost as Nigerian Air Force graduates 75 personnel in separate graduation ceremonies in Kaduna over the weekend. In this feature, our Defence Correspondent, LINUS ALEKE, examines the relevance of continual training of air personnel to tackle the emerging security threats in the country.

It was the Japanese great teacher and founder of martial art of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba who observed that “The purpose of training is to tighten up the slack, toughen the body, and polish the spirit”.

The ancient Greek philosopher and father of Western Philosophy Aristotle did not agree less with the Japanese sage when he theorized that “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation”.

He further argued that “We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”.

Supporting this line of thoughts, a statesman and the 35th President of the United States, Mr. John F. Kennedy posited that “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

Also giving credence to this thesis, a king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a patriarch of the Argead dynasty, Alexander III of Macedon, popularly referred to as Alexander the Great, said, “I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well”.

An Indian born industrialist in the engineering space, Haresh Sippy examined capacity building with the lens and mind of a scientist when he observed that “Like a battery, the human mind and body must be fully discharged to stretch their capacity.”

It was however, in recognition of the imperative of capacity building to the growth and advancement of the society as well as the socio-economic, cultural and scientific benefits inherent in it that the leadership of the Nigerian Air Force is not relenting in training its personnel continually.

Most of this military training are tailored toward tackling the emerging threats of terrorism, armed banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping, armed robbery, secessionist agitation, militancy and other crime and criminalities threatening the cooperate existence of Nigeria.

Only last week, the Nigerian Air Force graduated 75 personnel in a two separate military training institutions- Flight Safety Officers’ Course 2/2018 of the Nigerian Air Force Institute of Safety (NAFIS) at 401 Flying Training School and the Young Officers’ Course (YOC) at the Military Training Centre (MTC), both in Kaduna state.

While the former graduated 45 officers who successfully completed their Flight Safety Officers’ Course, the later schooled 30 Flying officers on leadership skills to prepare them for the challenges ahead.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the Flight Safety Officers’ Course 2/2018, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, admonished the safety officers to work with commanders in the field to help inculcate good safety habits and practices in air operations.

He noted that such would enhance the effectiveness of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in dealing with national security challenges.

Air Marshal Abubakar who gave this admonition at the graduation ceremony of Flight Safety Officers’ Course 2/2018 of the Nigerian Air Force Institute of Safety (NAFIS) at 401 Flying Training School, NAF Base Kaduna also underscores NAF’s culture of safety.

The Chief of Air Staff, was represented at the graduation ceremony by the Chief of Standards and Evaluation, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) John Baba.

He explained that apart from producing safety officers for the NAF, the Institute is raising a crop of young safety thinkers who would orchestrate the desired paradigm shift towards ‘thinking safety’ and ‘acting safety first’, both now and in future.

He said, “These new entrants with the right mindset of safety in the aviation industry would undoubtedly add value to the NAF Safety Culture and enhance her crew efficiency in flight operations thereby making the aviation industry safer.

“Considering the rich content of the course modules, calibre of the Institute’s faculty as well as the theoretical and practical exercises undertaken during the 12 weeks course, the graduands have had effective and quality safety training”.

While congratulating them for the successful completion of the course, Air Marshal Abubakar also encouraged them to be good safety ambassadors.

He equally commended the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command (AOC ATC) as well as the Commandant and staff of the Institute for steadily developing the Institute into a hub of excellence in safety training.

Meanwhile, the Commandant NAFIS, Air Commodore Edward Adedokun in an address of welcome said that the Institute had trained well over 550 personnel since its establishment on 1 April 2010.

He explained that the in-country training has afforded the Nigerian Air Force the opportunity to train more personnel at comparatively lower cost as well as has the benefit of hands-on training in own environment.

While giving a graphic detail of the activities of the institute, the Commandant said that this year alone, the Institute had trained 123 personnel including pilots, air traffic controllers, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operators, aircraft and armament engineers, as well as personnel from several other NAF specialties, in flight safety and different aspects of safety relevant to their fields.

He disclosed that the Flight Safety Officers Course 2 was special as all the 45 graduands are student pilots who have completed their primary flying training on fixed-wing platforms and helicopters, awaiting basic flying training.

The Commandant concluded by thanking the Chief of Air Staff for his tireless support which had empowered the Institute to effectively execute its safety training programmes.

The ceremony, which had the new AOC ATC, AVM Muhammad Suleiman, and Commanders of co-located NAF Units in attendance, also featured presentation of awards to students who distinguished themselves during the course.

Flying Officer Emmanuel Ugwoke clinched the Chief of Air Staff Award while the AOC ATC and Commandant’s Awards went to Flying Officers Anthony Durymsu and Isiaka Adepoju, respectively.

In a related development, the Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola in a statement in Abuja said that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has graduated another batch of 30 officers from the Young Officers’ Course (YOC) at the Military Training Centre (MTC), NAF Base Kaduna.

The Young Officers Course according to Daramola is a 3-month course aimed at developing the capacity of NAF officers, of the rank of flying officer, for future leadership tasks.

He said that during the YOC, the officers were groomed in subjects such as General Service Knowledge, Staff Duties, Asymmetric Warfare Principles and NAF Base Defence Concept, among others, to enhance their effectiveness and efficiency.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, urged the graduating officers to utilize the newly acquired knowledge to enhance their performance in subsequent deployments.

Represented by the Air Secretary NAF Headquarters, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Gali Abdulwahab, the Chief of Air Staff advised them to justify the resources invested in them by carrying out their duties diligently and professionally at all times.

Nevertheless, highlights of the graduation ceremony included presentation of certificates to the graduating personnel as well as awards to those who distinguished themselves during the Course.

Flying Officer OO Ilesanmi received the Chief of Air Staff award for emerging the overall best on the course, Daramola said.

NAF spokesperson concluded that it is instructive to note that the current NAF leadership has continued to focus on all aspects of training, both at home and abroad, towards improving professionalism for effective, efficient and timely delivery of Air Power to meet the security needs of the nation.

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The current NAF leadership has continued to focus on all aspects of training, both at home and abroad, towards improving professionalism for effective, efficient and timely delivery of air power to meet the security needs of the nation

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