The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar on Wednesday explained why the Nigerian Airforce have succeeded thus far in its assigned tasks of checkmating Boko Haram terrorism, Militancy in the Niger Delta and other security challenges saying, “Most importantly, I have enjoyed the honour and rare privilege of serving under the selfless, visionary and resilient leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said, “As Chief of the Air Staff, I have had the privilege of commanding men and women who showed courage in the face of terror, exhibited strength where others saw fear and applied ingenuity where others perceived impossibility.
“This combination of factors imbued us with the courage needed to win at all fronts as a force; be it against Boko Haram terrorism in the North East or militancy in the South-South or the myriads of other security challenges nationwide”.
Air Marshal Abubakar spoke in Abuja at the opening of a one day workshop for field commanders of NAF formations across the country and award ceremony for some individuals deemed to have exceptionally extolled the 3 core values of the NAF in the last one year namely ‘Integrity, Service before self and Excellence in all we do’.
The CAS said, “Let me start by specially welcoming our resource persons to the Workshop for NAF Field Commanders. As reservoirs of knowledge in their fields and specialties, their wealth of experience will surely make the workshop informative, educative and rich.
While congratulating the newly appointed Commanders, I want to state here that command appointments in the NAF, no doubt, come with a lot of responsibilities including management of human and material resources.
This workshop therefore aims at both equipping the new and reminding older Commanders of their responsibilities in line with HQ NAF expectations.
That is why selected topics span Command Responsibility, Administration, Financial Matters and Base Defence.
After each presentation, there will be adequate time for discussion to further drive home the lessons learnt. I therefore urge all participants to take keen interest in the presentations, which were carefully selected, to enable you discharge your responsibilities more effectively.
I need not emphasize that we are living in extraordinary times with myriads of problems threatening to shake the foundation laid by the founding fathers of this great nation and by extension, threatening to erode the labour of our heroes past.
We are partly gathered this morning, therefore, to celebrate our personnel that have demonstrated courage, resilience, commitment, ingenuity and dedication to service within the purview of their assigned tasks.
“The men and women that would be honoured today represent a sample of the many resilient hearts that the Nigerian Air Force is proud of.
I have always believed that an airman should be upright and not kept upright; these men and women have reaffirmed that belief.
By their efforts, I have no doubt that we are on our way to building the Air Force of our dreams and the kind of a fighting force the nation yearns for.
Unlike previous CAS Awards ceremonies, today’s event is unique because it is not only Nigerian Air Force personnel that are being honoured. We have taken the additional step of recognizing some of the civilians who have added value to our efforts at ensuring the territorial integrity of our fatherland.
By their actions, these unique civilians have proved that the quest for peace and security in Nigeria, just like the rest of the world, requires the combination of the efforts of all Nigerians, irrespective of their affiliations or status.
It goes without saying therefore that indeed, security is “everybody’s business”.
To the awardees, as we acknowledge your efforts, I would like to remind you that you cannot afford to loose steam.
Although this award is in recognition of your contributions towards the actualization of key Nigerian Air Force objectives, it is also tagged with a burden of responsibility and trust that you cannot afford to betray.
Consequently, I urge you to keep moving and please, carry your colleagues along in the spirit of togetherness that the military is known for.
Let us not forget the many others that are not in the limelight at this very moment, their contributions to the progress of the Service would not go un-saluted.
The awards given to some of your colleagues today should be a source of motivation. Do not despair because it is glaring that the Nigerian Air Force cannot be strong without our collective contributions no matter how modest they may be.
Hence, I enjoin you to continue to believe in yourselves and sustain the spirit of becoming progressively better in your various endeavours.
To the Commanders that have steered these men and women in the right direction, I salute your efforts. I can also say without reservation that you all should be very proud of what you have achieved. You have apparently done your duty with willingness, ability and readiness that are exemplary and worthy of emulation; do not relent in your efforts.
The awardees include Air Vice Marshal Charles Owho, the best Component Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, late Instructor Pilot, Air Commodore OG Ochai (Post Humus), Air Commodore Augustine Imafidon, Group Captain Albert Bot, Wing Commander AA Hadima (Post Humus), Wing Commander FE Ganiyu and Flight Lieutenant Nkedilim Anwuli.
Other awardees are Engineer Olajide Suleiman, Mr. Amstrong Buba, Warrant Officer Omodara JS, Sgt Abdulmalik Ibrahim, Lance Corporal Okoye NE, and Aircraftman Aliyu MS.
Both Air Commodore Ochai’s award and Wing Commander Hedima’s award were collected by their spouses.