By Mohammmed Ahmed Kaigama
Bauchi – The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Friday graduated 208 Special Forces personnel, with a warning to them to be extra security conscious.
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, issued the warning during the graduation ceremony of the Air Force men in Bauchi.
He explained that the combined graduation ceremony of the Special Forces Course 5/2019 and Helicopter Back Door Gunners Course 5/2019 at the Regiment Training Centre Annex, Bauchi was a milestone in the Air Force.
He said out of the 208 Special Forces trained at the Regiment Training Centre (RTC) Annex Bauchi 162 are Special Forces while 46 personnel are helicopter back door gunners.
He added the among the helicopter back door gunners included 10 police personnel who were also trained along with the Special Forces.
According to him, the training is in consonance with the NAF’s aspiration of boosting the capacity of the service to curtail insecurity and insurgency in Nigeria.
In his remark, Retired Gen. Bashir Magashi, the Minister of Defence, said it was quite evident that the Air Officer Commanding Ground Training Command and his team of instructors had done a good job considering the professional skills displayed during the demonstration.
He said the efforts of the Nigerian Air Force in building capacity of personnel could not have come at a better time as the country was presently experiencing security challenges in almost all the geopolitical zones.
“These challenges are occasioned by the upsurge in violent crimes such as banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling amongst others across the country which require the intervention of the Armed Forces in addition to its constitutional role of protecting the territorial integrity of the nation.
“However, countering these threats requires a different approach including the use of special operation forces which are beyond traditional warfare tactics,” he said
Magashi commended the Chief of the Air Staff for his efforts at rapidly developing capabilities for special operation forces with the training of over 1,000 Regiment personnel who are being deployed in various theatres of operation.
According to him, this graduation ceremony also shows that the Nigerian Air Force is adopting pragmatic steps towards conserving scarce foreign resources by looking inwards to locally train its personnel.
He reiterated that President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to ensuring that personnel of the Armed Forces were well equipped to better perform their constitutional roles.
Magashi, however, enjoined the graduates not to rest on your oars, but continue to improve in proficiency in their respective areas of expertise as part of their contributions towards ensuring that the nation was safe and secure.
“Our expectation is that after this course you will use your newly-acquired skills to attain the operational objectives of your respective services during future deployments,” he said.