By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA – CHIEF of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas, has attributed the total defeat of Boko Haram terrorists in the North East, to the air power of the Nigerian Air Force.
He insisted that the sustained air bombardment applied by the Nigerian Air Force quickened the decimation of the terrorists’ strength leading to their complete defeat.
Ibas, who spoke at the Nigerian Air Force Headquarters, Abuja, while featuring as guest of honour, at the occasion of winging of ten new young pilots of the Nigerian Air Force, said the service had played invaluable role in the maintenance of national security and stability of the country.
The ten young pilots officers finished a one-year training programme at Westline Aviation school in South Africa.
“I dare say that the course of the counter insurgency operations would not have been as promising without the indispensable and ubiquitous air support, “he said.
Ibas also noted with profound appreciation the impressive strides in the Nigerian Air Force’s human capacity development through focused and result oriented training for enhanced professional performance.
The naval chief also hailed the Nigerian Air Force for its operations in supporting capacity against the various illegalities in the nation’s maritime domain and participation in regional exercises, saying they were invaluable in shaping the operational space of “this much abused expanse.”
“In this regard, I pay tribute to your contributions, which have been great enablers in the fight against such ills as piracy, crude oil theft and illegal bunkering, and your spectacular performance in Exercise Oban game, “he added.
Vice Admiral Ibas also commended the Nigerian Air Force for its inspiring quest for an improved technical base to narrow the nation’s Armed Forces’ logistic gap, especially in the provision of hardware and weapon system.
He charged the newly inducted Nigerian Air Force pilots to appreciate their new status and expected role,saying it was instructive that their induction coincided with “a very challenging period period where the Nigerian Air Force platforms were actively engaged in the combat air operations.”
“You cannot but flow with the momentum established and stand ready for duty at all times. I therefore charge you to be courageous, hardworking and above all disciplined,” he said.
On his part, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said his administration deliberately focused on human capacity development of his organization’s personnel due to desire to meet international best standards.
He said the Nigerian Air Force under his leadership would continue to ensure that its personnel were well trained to carry out its constitutional duties,vowing that he would must reposition the service on a glorious path.
He charged the newly winged officers to be prepared for the onerous task ahead of them in the NAF’s operational flying environment.
Hear him:”For you, the journey of your fruitful flying careers has just began and you must not rest on your oars. You must open your minds to learn and be mentored by your captains and seniors in the field.
“Flying operations requires a lot of discipline, hard work and diligence to make you succeed. Therefore, do not forget the 3 Ds to success, which are “Drive, Discipline and Desire’’ to be better every day.
“As you are being inducted as pilots at a period NAF platforms are actively engaged in flying activities, you must therefore key into the progressive treads of the service and be ready for duty wherever and whenever it calls, ”he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director of Westline Aviation, Charlie Marais, praised the Nigerian Air Force for the discipline exhibited by the young officers throughout their stay in South Africa, stressing that the officers flew more than 200 hours individually in the 12 months they spent at the training school.
“I have noticed in the ten young men under the leadership of Flying Officer Alao, that they are disciplined, excellent discipline at heart. They toyed days, nights and weekends and they never faulted,’’ Marais said.
The names of the ten flying officers were given as Kolade Temitope Alao, Musbahu Mohammed Haruna, Anas Umar Samalia, Nurudeen Ahmad Bose and Mahmood Idanegbe Aburime.
Others were Ifeanyi Ifezue, Salim Kundil, Ahmad Tijani Yusuf, Lateef Adeola Atobatele and Alfred Bello.