2019 NAF Day Celebration: SGF Commends Nigerian Air Force As NAF Holds Exhibition, Anniversary
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has been commended for its efforts at harnessing the available research and development potentials, especially in the military aviation sector. The commendation was made, 27 April 2019, by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, during the NAF Research and Development (R&D) Competition/Exhibition 2019 held at the Eagle Square in Abuja as part of activities slated to commemorate the NAF 55th Anniversary Celebration. He disclosed that the event was an indication that the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) were aspiring to leave their footprints on the global stage, which, he said, was a very welcome development.
While assuring of the Federal Government’s continued support to the AFN, the SGF stated that it was now more important than ever before to look inward with a view to gradually weaning the Nation of overdependence on foreign technology and becoming more innovative in the use of local resources. He lauded the great strides attained in recent times by the NAF, especially the induction of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle nicknamed ‘TSAIGUMI’ as well as the efforts, in collaboration with other partners, to produce the first ever made in Nigeria aircraft at the Air Force Research and Development Center (AFRDC) in Kaduna. He also applauded the recent rehabilitation of the Machine Tool Workshops at the NAF Base, Makurdi and 631 Aircraft Maintenance Depot, Ikeja in collaboration with Oshogbo Machine Tools and the University of Maiduguri.
The SGF specially commended the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for his passion for R&D, noting that there was need for the public and private sectors to hold more of such exhibitions that would promote innovation. He added that the present administration would continue to encourage and support all meaningful civil-military research programmes towards making the AFN more self-reliant.
In his address, the CAS disclosed that the NAF R&D Competition/Exhibition was organized to motivate innovators and research outfits to explore the possibilities of identifying areas of potential partnership with the NAF in order to strengthen Nigeria’s technological base as a veritable tool for national development. Bearing in mind the need for the NAF to be self reliant technologically, Air Marshal Abubakar revealed that the Service placed emphasis on R&D as a means of building indigenous technological capacity. He pointed out that the NAF strategy was in line with the focus of the Federal Government which prioritises the promotion of local content, homegrown technology and innovation as principal means of improving the nation’s foreign exchange earnings.
Speaking further, the CAS acknowledged the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his continued support as well as for creating the enabling environment for the NAF to move its R&D efforts to a much higher level. The CAS also used the occasion to appreciate members of the National Assembly and the Ministry of Defence for their untiring support to the NAF.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Chief of Standards and Evaluation, Headquarters NAF, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Remigus Ekeh, noted that R&D had assumed new dimension in the NAF, under the leadership of Air Marshal Abubakar. According to him, “By encouraging out-of-the box thinking and innovative approaches to issues, a lot of solutions to operational challenges in the NAF have been locally developed through R&D, thereby saving huge resources”, he said.
The highlight of the R&D Competition/Exhibition was the inspection of project stands by the SGF and other dignitaries present at the occasion. Six NAF Commands and 9 Institutions participated in the R&D Competition/Exhibition. The 6 Commands are Tactical Air Command, Special Operations Command, Mobility Command, Air Training Command, Ground Training Command and Logistics Command. Other Institutions and agencies that showcased their products were Pen Resource Robotics Centre, Gombe, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Sheda Science and Technology, University of Maiduguri, Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy and the Air Force Institute of Technology, Kaduna. The Air Force Research and Development Centre as well as 041 Communications Depot, Shasha, Lagos also participated.
In the same vein, as part of the activities marking the NAF Day 2019, an Anniversary Lecture was held at the NAF Officers’ Mess and Suites, Kado, Abuja. The topic of the Lecture was “Air to Ground Integration in the Armed Forces of Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects”. The lecture, which was delivered by AVM Christian Chukwu (retired), pooled the intellectual minds of experienced serving and retired senior officers from the Armed Forces, other security agencies and members of diplomatic corps to discuss ways of improving synergy between air and surface forces for more effective and efficient operations.
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