By Mohammad Tijjani
Kaduna – The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Friday said no fewer than 1000 of its personnel had acquired special forces training in the past four years to enhance its manpower capacity.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the special forces are units of a country’s armed forces that undertake covert, counterterrorist and other specialized operations
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall, Sadiq Abubakar made the disclosure during the graduation of 175 special forces course 4 at the Regiment Training Centre (RTC), NAF Base Kaduna.
Abubakar said that the 175 special forces trainees were at the centre for 10 weeks undergoing rigorous training.
Abubakar said “with today’s graduation, the NAF has so far trained over 1000 Special Forces personnel in the last four years as part of our overall strategy for capacity building initiatives.
“We will continue to sustain the training of Special Forces personnel to enhance our force projection posture,’’ the CAS said.
He said that the products of the NAF Special Forces training were making huge impact in the fight against terrorism and armed banditry.
“An example of this impact is the recent arrest of armed bandits at Birnin Gwari in Kaduna and their response and achievements during the recently concluded presidential, governorship as well as federal and states houses of assembly elections.
“These performances have shown that our efforts toward building an efficient force structure with the NAF Special Forces as key component are yielding positive results.
“I therefore charge you all to rededicate yourselves to your duties and conduct yourselves in accordance with the NAF core values of integrity, service before self and excellence.
“The Nigerian Air Force expects you to build on these successes that you have achieved,” Abubakar said.
The Air Chief thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for giving priority attention to the requirements of NAF.
According to him, the support provided by the Federal Government has no doubt positively impacted on the NAF and led to increased aircraft serviceability and availability as well as improved training and other facilities.
“Let me use this opportunity to commend and appreciate the officers, airmen and airwomen of the NAF, who participated in various airlift and other support activities during the just concluded elections.
“Their achievement was a logistics feat. The airlift provided by NAF in support of the Independent National Electoral Commission and other agencies was simply excellent.
“Nigerian Air Force platforms flew a total of 334 sorties in 347 hours 25 minutes and airlifted a total of 628,298 kg of election materials using eight aircraft to 31 locations.
“This is a clear testament to the improved support provided the NAF by the current administration,” he said
Abubakar assured of the officers and men’s loyalty to the President and pledged their commitment to continue to support the Federal Government in its policy thrust of providing security, improving economy and fighting corruption in Nigeria.
“I have been informed that the course curriculum for all training conducted at the Regiment Training Centre have been reviewed to meet the asymmetric nature of the various security challenges confronting our country.
“I am aware that the 10-Week training you were all subjected to had been very rigorous and strenuous. It is gratifying to know that 175 of you met the requirements and will be graduating today.
“This is a commendable feat that you all should be proud of. You must therefore be prepared to do your best in all circumstances as your future assignments will require courage, good judgement and commitment.
” On our part, we have made deliberate efforts at repositioning the NAF into a highly professional fighting force,” he added.
Earlier the Commandant, RTC Wing Commander, Stephen Sekegor, said that the 175 officers are the first batch of students to be trained by wholly Nigerian Special Forces Instructors.
Sekegor said that this was indeed a lofty achievement for the NAF and a testament to the admirable leadership of the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar.
“The current NAF administration under your leadership, has deliberately pursued the capacity building drive of the Nigerian Air Force Regiment Specialty to better conduct base defense operations in both conventional and asymmetric warfare environments.
“We are indeed grateful for your leadership and vision for the Nigerian Air Force,” he said (NAN)