Vice President Osinbajo Harps On Unity As Nigerian Air Force Commissions New Cadets In Kaduna
The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has charged newly commissioned officers of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Direct Short Service Commission (DSSC) Course 28/2019 to resist any form of divisive overtures by unscrupulous elements who wish to truncate the greatness of the country. The Vice President gave this charge, during the Passing Out Parade (POP) of 187 DSSC officer cadets, including 21 females, at the Military Training Centre (MTC), Kaduna. The 6-month intensive training was designed to introduce the officer cadets to military regimentation as well as NAF operations and administration, covering subjects such as Drill, Weapon Training, Air Power as well as Officership, Leadership and Command. The Vice President stated that the country was on a trajectory to greatness, which must not be undermined by those who preach narratives of divisions along ethnic and religious lines. According to him, “the future of our country is bright, all we need to do is to keep focus, not to allow anyone to preach any division amongst us. If we remain stable and united, everything that we desire for our great country will be ours.”
While congratulating the new officers for successfully completing the rigorous training, the Vice President, who was also the Reviewing Officer at the occasion, stated that the Federal Government would continue to employ all necessary measures to tackle all forms of criminality across the country, as well as safeguard lives and property of all Nigerians. Professor Osinbajo noted that the Armed Forces have effectively contained the territorial ambitions of the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) by substantially degrading their capacity to attack and wreak havoc. He commended the NAF for being at the forefront of the nation’s national security interventions, noting in particular the accurate and extremely successful bombings of terrorists’ hideouts and destruction of a BHT mechanic workshop in Borno. The Vice President also lauded the successful air strikes executed by Air Task Force of Operation LAFIYA DOLE at Tumbun Hamma on the fringes of Lake Chad, which inflicted heavy casualties on Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters, as well as the air strikes on hideouts in Sambisa Forest, which further degraded the insurgents.
The Vice President reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to continue giving priority attention to the operational requirements as well as the welfare of the personnel of the Nigerian Armed Forces. He commended the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for providing inspirational leadership for the NAF, noting that his far sightedness and innovativeness have greatly advanced the prestige and capacity of the NAF. Speaking further, the Reviewing Officer stated that the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has done more for the NAF,in spite of limited resources, by reactivating, in the last four years, several erstwhile unserviceable assets while building local technical capacity to repair and maintain NAF operational assets. While charging the NAF to continue to be open to innovative ideas and collaborations with academia and the private sector, Professor Osinbajo said the recent launch of the Tsaigumi, Nigeria’s first operational, locally-developed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, was confirmation that the NAF is on the right track.
Professor Yemi Osinbajo reminded the passing out cadets of the enormous responsibilities ahead of them as they begin the challenging but rewarding career as officers in the NAF. “You are passing out at a time when our Nation is grappling with an insurgency in the Northeast, and the challenges of kidnapping and armed banditry in other parts of the country. You will therefore have to come to terms with the fact that the days and weeks and months ahead of you will be extremely busy, as you fulfill your responsibilities to the military and the Nation”, the Vice President said.
The colourful parade also featured the presentation of awards to graduating cadets who distinguished themselves during the training, among which was Cadet (now Flying Officer) Titilayo Ademoluti, who received the President’s Award for emerging first in order of merit on the course. This is the first time in the history of MTC that a female cadet has emerged first in order merit in the DSSC. The Vice President, on behalf of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, subsequently conferred commission, in the rank of Flying Officer, and administered the oath of allegiance on the 187 new NAF officers. Before departing for Abuja, Prof Osinbajo was conducted on a tour of some recent NAF Research and Development breakthroughs including a locally produced 6 tube rocket launcher for the Bell 412 Helicopter, locally produced 30.1mm rocket, Gun Truck using 33mm Geisha tactical gun as well as locally produced Hexacopter capable of carrying weaponized payload, amongst others.
The Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence, Mrs Nuratu Batagarawa, as well as representatives of the Chief of Defence Staff and other Service Chiefs, serving and retired senior military officers, top government functionaries and relatives of the newly commissioned officers were in attendance to witness the ceremony.
Other events, which were earlier held in honor of the newly commissioned officers, included a Regimental Dinner Night on 3 July 2019 as well as the Beating of the Retreat/Prize Giving Ceremony held on 5 July 2019. It is pertinent to state that, since inception of the current NAF administration in 2015, 4 sets of DSSC officers have been commissioned. Also, from July 2015 to date, 677 officers have been enlisted into the NAF through the DSSC Programme and 239 others through the regular intake from the Nigerian Defence Academy.
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