Nigerian Air Force Rounds Off 55th Anniversary Celebration With Gala Night, Rewards Gallantry, Excellence
The activities marking the 55th Anniversary Celebration of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) were rounded off, 29 April 2019, in a colourful Anniversary Dinner/Gala Night held at the NAF Officers’ Mess and Suites Kado, Abuja.
The event, which featured cultural dances, comedy and live music, also served as a forum for the NAF to reward the gallantry of some its personnel, recognize the outstanding performances of 2 deserving individuals as well as present prizes to the winners of the 2019 NAF Research and Development (R&D) Competition held on 27 April.
Tactical Air Command (TAC) clinched First place in the R&D Competition, while Air Training Command (ATC) and 041 Communications Depot Shasha placed Second and Third, respectively.
One of the officers rewarded for gallantry was Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) Ilu Yusuf, who had flown over 785 combat hours on the Mi-35 Helicopter Gunship, playing very key roles during various operations in the Northeast (NE) Theatre of Operation, notably during Operation DEEP PUNCH that led to the capture of Camp Zero from the Boko Haram Terrorist group.
The second award for gallantry went to Flt Lt Muadab Getso, a seasoned fighter pilot who has logged over 1,000 combat flying hours on the Alpha Jet, participating in several operations in the NE. It is noteworthy that Flt Lt Getso had carried out the seamlessly executed Alpha Jet solo aerobatic performance during the Aerial Display at the Eagle Square earlier that day.
The recipients of the awards for excellence were Flt Lt Efe Egbujiobi and Master Arotiba Seunara Peter, from Air Force Secondary School, Ikeja. Flt Lt Egbujiobi, while on United Nations (UN) Mission in Congo DRC, not only performed excellently well but also, added value by undertaking skills acquisition, economic empowerment and enlightenment programmes as well as quick impact projects to alleviate the plights of the host communities in her area of deployment, at her own personal expense, for which she was given commendation by the UN.
Master Arotiba Peter, on the other hand, got the award for emerging the best overall candidate in the 2018 May/June West African Senior School Certificate Examination in the whole of West Africa with 9 A1s in Mathematics, English Language, Biology, Tourism, Further Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Civic Education and Economics, beating over 1.9 million other candidates who sat for the examination.
In his remarks, the Special Guest of Honour (SGOH), Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, commended all the past Chiefs of the Air Staff (CAS), who had at one time or the other contributed to the success story of the Service, while also expressing his admiration for the current CAS for the strings of successes recorded in recent times by the Service.
He added that the revolutionary development of the NAF into an operationally efficient Service through quality training of its manpower as well as the reactivation of equipment and platforms through numerous R&D efforts lent credence to the quality and efficiency of leadership in the Service. He also used the opportunity to congratulate the officers who were specially recognized at the event and urged them to sustain their devotion to duty so as to ensure that the NAF continues to succeed in all its endeavours. The SGOH reiterated that,, although the NAF Day 2019 Celebrations provided an avenue for the NAF to showcase itself to the entire world, most Nigerians already understand the sacrifices and efforts of the Service towards ensuring that law-abiding citizens are safe to go about their daily endeavours without fear.
He noted that the activities held during the Celebrations would go further to convince more Nigerians that public funds were being well utilized to ensure their safety and security.
Earlier, the CAS, Air Marshal Sadique Abubarkar, who welcomed dignitaries to the event, recounted that the NAF had gone through remarkable developments over the years. He noted that the Service has no doubt lived up to and, in some instances, even exceeded expectations in the discharge of its responsibilities. These achievements, he said, were among the reasons for which the Gala Night was put together.
Air Marshal Abubakar also used the opportunity to acknowledge the support of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to improving the NAF platforms/equipment holding.
Aside from the fleet of Super Tucano aircraft the Government recently ordered and paid for, the CAS noted that the NAF had taken delivery of a variety of platforms, especially helicopters, since the inception of the current Federal Government administration.
These, he said, included the 2 Agusta 109P inducted earlier in the day, as well as 4 Mi-35M Helicopters, 10 Super Mushshak trainer aircraft and 2 Bell-412 Helicopters, amongst others.
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