The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Saturday graduated a batch of 203 Special Forces (SF) combat, search and rescue personnel in Bauchi.
Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, Chief of Air Staff (CAS), who spoke at the ceremony, said that the personnel underwent training under course 7/2020 of special forces and course 3/2020 of combat, search and rescue programme.
He expressed satisfaction with the quality of training of the personnel, noting that the NAF-SF personnel, who were trained earlier, were already making a huge impact in the fight against terrorism and armed banditry in different parts of the country.
Abubakar urged the graduands to put in their best in all circumstances, as their future assignments would require courage, good judgement and commitment.
The CAS thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the attention given to the needs of the NAF.
“The support provided by the Federal Government has no doubt impacted positively on the NAF and led to increased aircraft serviceability and availability, as well as improved training and enhanced facilities,” he said.
He pledged to sustain the training of NAF-SF personnel to enhance NAF’s projection posture, while improving its base defence/force protection capabilities.
Earlier, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Ground Training Command, Air Vice Marshal Idi Amin, said that 357 Regiment personnel were nominated for Special Forces screening, but only 219 scaled through.
“Out of this number, only 162, comprising nine officers and 153 airmen/airwomen, met the requirements of the course and are, therefore, graduating at this ceremony.
Similarly, out of 60 personnel inaugurated for the Combat Search and Rescue Course, only 41 are graduating today,” he said.
Amin noted that the dropout rates in the two courses were due to efforts to maintain global standards, saying that the graduation was a combined event for Special Forces Course 7/2020 and Combat, Search and Rescue Course 3/2020.
“So far, the Command has trained more than 1,200 personnel by conducting seven Special Forces Courses, two Special Forces Instructors Courses and three Combat, Search and Rescue Courses.
“As a Command, we are happy to report that the feedback on the performance of our trainees in the field are very good and comparable to any trainee from similar military institutions across the world,” he said.
Amin said that the exercise was in line with the objectives of the Command of producing qualitative, non-technical manpower for the NAF, in agreement with the vision of the CAS.
He said that the vision was “to reposition the NAF into a highly professional and disciplined force, through capacity building initiatives, for effective, efficient and timely deployment of air power in response to Nigeria’s national security imperatives.”
He commended the CAS for the tremendous support to the command, particularly in the provision of infrastructure and personnel welfare.