The ongoing efforts of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to build added capacity to address the current security challenges in the Country have been boosted as the Service graduated its second batch of locally trained Special Forces (SF) Instructors today, 31 May 2019. The graduation of SF Instructors Course 2/2019, comprising 51 officers and men, brings the total number of locally trained instructors to 95. The move, which has saved the Nation considerable foreign exchange whilst ensuring the domestication of SF training, is in line with one of the key drivers of the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar’s, Vision, that is; “reinforcing a culture of self-reliance and prudent management of resources”. The colourful graduation ceremony, which took place at the Regiment Training Centre (GTC) Outdoor Shooting Range Kaduna, featured complex counter-terrorism demonstration exercises by the graduating students, including vehicular and foot assaults.
Speaking during the ceremony, Air Marshal Abubakar expressed delight with the impressive display by the graduands whilst commending RTC’s efforts in producing another set of locally trained SF instructors which, he said, would increase capacity to sustain the training of NAF SF. He noted that the NAF had, in the past 4 years, relied on the services of the Israeli Four Troops Team to train its SF personnel but had, over the years, gradually built capacity to domesticate the training. He further disclosed that the NAF was poised to increase RTC’s training capacity with the establishment of training centre annexes at Ipetu-Ijesha in Osun State, Owerri in Imo State and Bauchi in Bauchi State to maximize terrain training for the SF personnel.
Speaking further, the CAS expressed immense satisfaction with the performance of NAF SF personnel in various internal security operations across the country, including Gusau in Zamfara State, Agatu in Benue State, Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State and Gembu in Taraba State, among others, as well as those operating alongside other security agencies along the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway to ensure security of commuters along the route. He therefore urged the graduands to sustain the level of performance and exhibit the highest levels of professionalism in their future conduct as part of the frontline in the defence of the nation. He equally charged them to maintain and possibly exceed the standards set by their predecessors from the initial instructors’ training course.
Air Marshal Abubakar appreciated the efforts of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, for giving the NAF the resources and enabling environment to thrive. He equally expressed gratitude to the National Assembly, especially the Senate and House Committees on Defence and Air Force, for their continued support to the Service. He also commended the efforts of the Air Officer Commanding Ground Training Command (AOC GTC), AVM Idi Amin, as well as the Commandant RTC, Wing Commander Stephen Sekegor, and his team of instructors that worked tirelessly to mould the new set of NAF SF instructors.
In his welcome address, the Commandant RTC, stated that the current NAF administration, under the leadership of Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, had deliberately pursued the capacity building drive of the NAF Regiment Specialty to better conduct base defence operations in both conventional and asymmetric warfare environments. The Commandant further stated that before now, the SF training had been conducted abroad in various countries such as Belarus, Jordan and Pakistan. However, in line with CAS key driver in relation to human capacity development, the Four Troop Team was employed to conduct training for SF personnel as instructors at the RTC. While giving highlights of the 10-week intensive training programme, the Commandant stated that the graduands underwent technical, tactical and basic night shooting; endurance training; dry drills; breaking and entry; discharge from vehicles; running and breaking of covers; convoy movement as well as weapon and ballistic zeroing, amongst others. It would be recalled that the initial SF Instructor Course1/2018 was conducted at RTC in October 2018.
Awards were given to students who distinguished themselves during the course. Aircraftman Kanu Ihuoma got the Commandant’s Award for placing third in order of merit. The AOC GTC’s Award was given to Corporal Ohanu Emmanuel, who emerged second best in order of merit, while Corporal Abdullahi Isyaku clinched the CAS’ Award having emerged the best all round on the course. The Commandant Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command, Commandant Air Force Institute of Technology, Commanders of co-located NAF Units in Kaduna as well as other serving and retired senior officers were among the dignitaries that graced the occasion.
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force