Given the economic downturn of Nigeria, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) said it has decided to look inwards in building capacity and a culture of self-reliance especially as regards its continuous fight against insurgency in the North-east.
Through the command Inter-Unit Research and Development (R&D) competition organised by the Standards and Evaluations unit of the NAF, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar hopes to use R&D to curb foreign reliance for platforms and equipment.
While the Commander, 401 Aircraft Maintenance Depot, Air Commodore Emmanuel Wonah built the Aircraft Engine Compressor Washing Machine and mobile hydraulic cart, the Commander, 403 Communications Group, Captain Ayodele Hanidu built a tech firing range equipment.
In his speech, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Logistics Command, Air Vice Marshal Muhammadu Muhammed, said “I wish to state emphatically that the technological development of a nation is a key component of its national power.
“Therefore, the application of relevant R&D in a nation’s defence equipment maintenance and operation guarantees the requisite equipment needed to maintain the competitive edge in battle.
‘’In reality, the economic downturn, which had negatively affected funding of the NAF, has made it increasingly difficult to maintain the array of NAF platforms relying on foreign partners.
“This situation has necessitated the NAF To look inwards on how to keep our platforms operation, especially in the face of current security challenges. To actualise this, NAF is partnering many governmental and private institutions on R&D.”
In an interview with THISDAY afterwards, the Chief of Standards and Evaluation, Air Vice Marshal Salau Bala-Ribah, said, “The CAS wants to reposition the Air Force into a highly professional force and to do that, you have to build capacity and self-reliance. To be self-reliant, you must be able to produce some of the components and parts of equipment and platforms.
“The Air Force is a highly technical force. You cannot operate without these equipment and platforms. You cannot be professional if you have to wait for parts of these aircrafts from your foreign partners because it takes a long time for these parts to come.
“We have a challenge in the North-east and these aircrafts have to be there, so the chief said that for us to be very professional, we have to be self-reliant. For us to be self-reliant, we must go into research and development.
“All over the world, the military usually cooperates with civil societies and the academia, for a viable research and development programmes and to encourage our establishments and units to evolve the strategy of inter-command competition for R and D.
“These include universities we have a memorandum of understanding with. Now for commands to produce viable projects, they have to organise competitions at their level to look at the projects that are viable to present at the inter-command competition.
“By so doing, we are building capacity and a self-reliant culture through those projects that will be viable for aircraft maintenance, securing equipment we use in our barracks and viable for enhancing the quality of training our personnel that we deploy in the North-east”, he added.
No Clemency in Indonesia for Drug Traffickers, Says Envoy
The Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Harry Purwanto, yesterday said his home government would not grant clemency to anyone involved in narcotic crime in Indonesia.
Harry disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos while reacting to a report that two Nigerians were on death row in Indonesia for drug-related offences.
The envoy said capital punishment would be meted to Nigerians who engaged in narcotic crimes, as well as to other foreigners and Indonesians engaging in the criminal acts.
“Let me say that Indonesia, currently, has very strict punishment measures for anyone engaged or that is planning to engage in drug trafficking. Let me also say that between 72 and 75 young Indonesians that were involved in narcotic crimes are currently in detention.
“My president, President Joko Widodo, is really committed to fighting drug trafficking, and has continued to maintain a firm stance against anyone arrested for involving in narcotic crime. So, there will be no clemency for anyone, be they Indonesians or other foreigners, arrested for drug-related offences,” he said.
According to him, Indonesia will always resort to capital punishment after it has thoroughly investigated and exhausted the necessary legal processes.
Harry, however, said his government would, sometime, only give consideration to arrested pregnant women, teenagers and mentally-deranged offenders.
The ambassador appealed to Nigerians to desist from visiting Indonesia for drug related-offences or allowed themselves to be used for drug trafficking.
He said the existing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Indonesia would be stronger, if people of both countries obey the laws of their host countries.
10,289 Candidates Jostle for Admission into Lagos Model Colleges
No fewer than 10,289 candidates yesterday sat for the Lagos State 2016 screening test into the 15 Junior Model Colleges and Upgraded Secondary Schools in 28 centres across the state.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mr. Adesina Odeyemi, disclosed this to newsmen after monitoring the exercise, according to a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report.
Odeyemi was accompanied by the Director, Lagos State Examinations Board, Mr. Oluwafemi Hassan to monitor the examinations across the state. They visited Government Junior Grammar School, Iyana-Ipaja, CBT centre at the Examination Board Complex and Vertland Junior Model College, Agege, Lagos.
Odeyemi expressed satisfaction in the smooth conduct of the examination at the centres visited.
NAN reports that this is an improvement compared to the 8,900 candidates that sat for the test in 2015.
The permanent secretary said the examination was conducted both in the Computer Based Test (CBT) mode and the Paper Pencil Test (PPT) mode. He said 54 out of the candidates sat for the computer mode, while the rest sat for the PPT.
He said more pupils sat for the CBT mode this year compared to 17 candidates who opted for the CBT pilot scheme in 2015.
“We have not done badly in the conduct of the examination, some centres started early, while a few others started late due the late arrival of candidates. Generally, it was a well conducted examination, but the observations and complaints from some parents will be look into and be corrected in future examinations.
“The number for the CBT mode is increasing because of the awareness in schools; it also shows that parents too are embracing ICT. Government will continue to invest in education and train our children acquire ICT knowledge from kindergarten. Candidates will be placed in schools according to the cut-off marks,”’ he said.
The permanent secretary said the state government was preparing to adopt the CBT mode in primary and secondary schools in the state. He said the Lagos State Ministry Science and Technology had been directed by the state governor to provide ICT centres, equipment and facilities in schools across the state.
He said the state would switch over to the CBT mode of examinations as soon as the facilities were on ground, adding that the world had gone beyond manual mode of examinations.
Hassan also told newsmen that more students were developing interests in computer based examinations. He said in 2015, the 17 candidates who sat for the examination passed and gained admissions into the model and upgraded schools.
He said an Optical Marker Recognition sheet, with embossed pictures of the candidates was used for the test.
“The CBT mode is not easier than the PPT, the questions are the same but we randomised it in the computer mode so the candidate cannot cheat or assist each other. The CBT mode has eliminated examination malpractices and delayed results; with this mode, students get their results almost immediately after the test.
“Last year, we had 17 candidates for the pilot scheme, and this year we have 54 candidates, which shows that our pupils are becoming aware of the computer-based- test mode of examinations,” he said.
A parent, Mrs. Mariam Yakubu, however, complained that the picture and name of her daughter was omitted from the list of candidates at Vertland Junior Secondary School. Yakubu said the print-out given to her daughter after registration stated the centre but other information missing.
She urged the state government to investigate the complaint so that her child would not be denied admission on errors not caused by her.