By Mohammed Tijjani
Kaduna – The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Tuesday inaugurated 594 personnel who recently completed regiment and Defence Intelligence Agency weapons handing courses at the Regiment Training Centre, NAF Base, Kaduna.
The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the 594 personnel undertook Basic Regiment Officers’ Course (BROC), Basic Regiment Airmen/Airwomen Course, as well as Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) Weapons Handling Training.
The 594 include four officers from the Basic regiment officers course and 500 airmen/airwomen and 90 personnel of the Defence Intelligence Agency.
In his address at the occasion, he Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, said the event marked yet another milestone in the continued efforts to build robust capacity to tackle the security challenges confronting the country.
The Chief of Air Staff, who was represented by Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Ground Training Command, AVM Idi Amin, said that the objective was to reposition the Nigerian Air Force in respect of manpower, proper equipment and organisation structure.
“In terms of quantity and quality, for sustained, effective, efficient and timely employment of air power in response to Nigeria’s national security imperatives,’’ Abubakar said.
He stated that the quest for the right structure led to an expansion that entailed the establishment of two new field Commands, the Ground Training Command with Headquarters in Enugu, and the Special Operations Command with Headquarters in Bauchi.
“As s well as the creation of several new units, including Quick Response Groups (QRGs) and Quick Response Wings (QRWs) in locations such as: Gembu in Taraba State, Gusau in Zamfara State, Owerri in Imo State and Agatu in Benue State.
“Similar Quick Response units have also been established at Kerang in Plateau State; Ipetu Ijesha in Osun State, Lafia in Nasarawa State as well as Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State, amongst others,’’ COAS said.
According to him, these units, which are mostly manned by NAF Regiment and Special Forces personnel, have continued to add value to our efforts at supporting sister Services and other security agencies in internal security operations across the country.
This, he said, had further brought security closer to the people.
“In terms of the right equipment holding, the capacity of the Service has been significantly boosted by the acquisition of 22 brand new aircraft by the Federal Government over the last five years, with another 17 being expected by 2021.
“Additionally, with the support of the Federal Government, the Service has reactivated over 20 erstwhile unserviceable aircraft that are now contributing considerably to the NAF’s air power projection efforts in the various theatres across the country.’’
Abubakar also said that NAF had also embarked on serious recruitment of personnel, adding that the figure of personnel in the Service has almost doubled since 2015.
“In terms of boosting the quality of the workforce, the NAF embarked on aggressive development of capabilities necessary for keeping the NAF ahead of the curve not only for Air Power projection, but also for Force Protection, which is essential to properly secure our bases and air assets so that they can effectively execute assigned missions.
Abubakar said that in its bid to synergise for enhanced national security, the current NAF administration has extended its training to sister Services and other security agencies.
“This year alone, we have trained 12 Nigerian Army personnel as Helicopter Backdoor Gunners as well as 25 Army and Naval personnel from Defence Headquarters on Rappelling, with the courses fully funded by the NAF.
“Prior to this, in 2019, the NAF had trained 10 personnel of the Nigeria Police as Helicopter Backdoor Gunners. Upholding this trajectory, the 90 personnel who are here from DIA for the small arms training course will be the latest beneficiaries of this kind gesture by the NAF.’’
Abubakar said that the introduction of the DIA personnel into the course was quite significant.
“This is because of the critical role that accurate and timely intelligence plays in the successful execution of combat and non-combat missions in all phases of war, especially in asymmetric warfare scenarios.’’
Earlier, the Commandant of the Centre, Group Capt. Daniel Komo, highlighted the gains of the course to include: teaching the students’ the tactics, techniques and procedures required to make effective use of various weapons systems especially the Tavor, AK-47 and pistol.
He said that it was necessary to carry arms even when conducting intelligence gathering operations against suspected adversaries deep into enemy territories.
Komo said that the centre would continue to conduct trainings in line with the objectives of the Chief of Air Staff, to produce highly professional and disciplined force that would be effective, efficient and timely in response to national security imperatives.