The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), on 30 November 2017, graduated 18 officers and 436 airmen/airwomen in asymmetric warfare to further prosecute the war against insurgency and other criminalities in the country. The specially trained personnel were equipped with necessary military skills on airfield defence, reaction to enemy effective fire during advance and quick attacks, night navigation drills, amongst others. The combined graduation ceremony, which comprised Basic Regiment Officers’ Course, Basic Regiment Airmen Course, Gunnery II Course and Special Forces Course, took place at the NAF Regiment Training Centre (RTC) in Kaduna. The various courses were facilitated by a combination of NAF trained instructors deployed at RTC, Royal Air Force Regiment Personnel, who are part of the British Military Assistance Training Team (BMATT) as well as Four-Troop Limited, a reputable foreign military training organization from Israel, which the NAF had since engaged to conduct specialized training for about 450 selected NAF personnel in 3 batches.
In his remarks at the graduation ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who was represented by the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Ground Training Command, Air Vice Marshal Samson Akpasa, noted that the just completed training was relevant to the protection of NAF platforms and bases. According to him, it would also contribute in no small way to the ongoing fight against insurgency in the Northeastern part of the country. The CAS then commended the courage of the graduands, for withstanding the arduous physical activities in the course of their training. While charging them to be prepared to give their best in the service of their fatherland, Air Marshal Abubakar enjoined them to sustain the zeal and courage that would no doubt be required to face the challenges ahead. Furthermore, the CAS encouraged the graduands to imbibe the spirit of teamwork and be always loyal, courageous and professional in the discharge of assigned tasks. Meanwhile, the CAS seized the opportunity to further appreciate the efforts and support of the Federal Government for its steadfastness and commitment in providing necessary funds for training and operational activities in the NAF. He equally appreciated members of the BMATT, staff of Four-Troop Limited and other NAF partners for their respective roles in training the NAF Special Forces.
Earlier in his remarks, the Commandant of the NAF RTC, Group Captain Isaac Subi, stated that due to the operational requirements of the NAF, the Regiment courses were restructured to enhance the force and critical assets protection capability of the NAF. He added that “the training modules include 3 distinct activities which include the acquisition of necessary skills, practising of acquired skills and a display of competence in acquired skills through consistent field exercise. These great feats were achieved through classroom lectures, practical demonstrations and field exercises which covers a wide range of counter terrorism technicalities”.
During the ceremony, the graduating personnel demonstrated their newly acquired skills through a series of exercises that demonstrated the integration of the air and ground elements of the NAF, to the delight of guests. The display included unarmed combats, tactical exercises and force protection drills. Awards were later presented to the most deserving students who had distinguished themselves in various areas during the courses. Another Special Forces training of 150 personnel will commence in January 2018. So far, the NAF has trained over 560 Special Forces personnel since 2015. Some of these personnel are serving in the North East and the newly established Quick Response Groups located in Gusau and Owerri. The increased tempo of training in the NAF is part of the efforts by the current NAF leadership at ensuring that every necessary capacity is developed to enhance the defence of Nigeria’s territorial integrity.