On April 8, 2014, the Chief of Air Staff, (CAS), Air Marshal AN Amosu, briefed the media on the 50th Anniversary of the service. Jibrin Baba Ndace reports
Established by the Act of parliament in 1964, Nigerian Air Force as a service truly alive to its responsibility and being mindful of the current challenges facing Nigeria, rather than rolling out the drums decided to mark its 50 years of existence in low key.
Speaking with Journalists, the CAS said the service has lined up activities for 50th anniversary of NAF. Part of activities includes Jumaat prayers 11 and Church Service 13 April 2014 in all NAF bases.
He said: “Although the celebration is low-key, part of the activities to mark our golden jubilee include Jumaat prayers and Church Service on 11 and 13 April 2014 in all our bases. There will also be civil-military outreach to the public by our medical personnel and Nigerian Air Force Officer Wives Association (NAFOWA) on April 14, 2014. The events will be rounded up with an anniversary dinner during which key individuals will be honoured and decorated with NAF 50th anniversary commemorative brooches. ”
CAS said that NAF had earlier scheduled to host the anniversary with the Bi-ennial Air Expo but had to reschedule due to current security challenges. “The Nigerian Air Force had earlier scheduled to host the 50th Anniversary alongside the Bi-ennial Air Expo this month. However, you are all aware that our nation is no doubt facing unprecedented security challenges, although they are by no means surmountable.
The Nigeria Air Force air assets and personnel are currently fully deployed in the North East to counter the terrorists’ insurgency. Similarly, a percentage of Nigerian Air Force assets are involved with the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta to stem illegal maritime activities as well as in the North Central parts of Nigeria. ”
“The Nigeria Air Force C-130s and G-222s are also heavily committed in the troops deployment to operational areas as well as in medical supply operations for the Nigerian Army, Consequently, it was considered expedient to postpone the Air Expo to a later part of the year in order to tackle head long the insurgency challenges and stabilize the North-East without reducing our efforts.”
Amosu said that NAF has lived up to the vision of its founding fathers through remarkable achievement it had recorded in the past decades.
“The Nigerian Air Force came into being through an Act of Parliament in 1964 to serve four main purposes. Two of these are: to ensure a fast versatile mobility of the armed forces, and to provide close air support for the ground-based and sea borne forces in all phases of operations and to ensure the territorial integrity of a united Nigeria.
“Since inception, the Nigerian Air Force has gone through landmark events starting from the civil war when the Service was at its infancy.The inexperienced Air Force then assumed the role of a well-established Air Force to prosecute the Nigerian Civil war in collaboration with other sister Services. Over the years, the Nigerian Air Force has grown from a small service with few platforms to one with over seventeen aircraft types and still growing.”
The Chief of Air Staff, who thanked the founding fathers and his predecessors for their focused leadership, disclosed that the federal government approved the acquisition of new fighter aircrafts and helicopters for NAF and upgrading of existing platforms. He commended the efforts of gallants pilots and personnel involved in the on-going operations in the South-south and North–east.