Over five decades after its establishment, Nigerian Army School of Finance and Administration recently underwent a comprehensive refurbishment and construction of its structure. Chiemelie Ezeobi reports that with the inauguration by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, this boost will translate to manpower efficiency
Man is a product of his environment and who better to know this than the Nigerian Army, who banks on excellence to deliver credible and efficient ground power as one of the tripartite of the Armed Forces.
Keying into this, the Nigerian Army School of Finance and Administration (NASFA), Apapa, recently inaugurated its newly built towering edifice and state-of-the-art facilities to make learning more conducive.
Established in 1968, NASFA kicked off at the Arakan Barracks in Apapa, Lagos. Known for churning out personnel who have made remarkable contributions to the accounting and other finance/business related professions in its 55 years of existence, NASFA boasts of graduates who have consistently smashed the coveted Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) certification examination which qualifies professionals in the field of accounting.
Essentially, NASFA is a foremost military institution that provides skilled workforce for the Nigerian Army, sister services and other security and para-Miltary agencies in the country.
But despite its towering achievements, the physical structure of the school was totally unbefitting for an institution that churned out such graduates.
The tide turned in 2021, when the trajectory of its boost began with the approval by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya for the reconstruction of classrooms, offices, students’ accommodation, refectory and other facilities required to improve the learning conditions of the school.
A break down of the refurbishment include two main blocks comprising 27 class rooms, five staff rooms, five secretary offices and two computer rooms. There were also 36 male and female toilets , a computer room, and four laboratory offices.
Also in the facilities are a 400-capacity 400 auditorium,16 toilets, eight each for male and female, as well as a 51- bedroom female hostel to accommodate 400 students; three floor structure of 24 unit mini flat for staff accommodation, among others.
Premium on Training
Inaugurating the reconstructed and re-equipped school last week, Yahaya, who happened to be the first COAS to have visited NASFA since its establishment 55 years ago, said his administration placed a premium on training for all the right reasons.
He said: “One of the four pillars of my command philosophy is Readiness. And Readiness for a professional army can only be achieved by well trained and administered troops who are in a high state of morale to discharge assigned missions.
“One of the key components of training is conducive environment for learning which in turn requires competent instructors or tutors, requisite infrastructure and good administration.
“It is in that drive that we try to provide necessary infrastructure and other facilities for our schools and
training institutions across the Nigerian Army.
“I will therefore continue to ensure realistic and mission-oriented training towards building professional standards in the Nigerian Army by providing conducive environment for learning, improving skills and competences of instructors and students, sound administration of troops and their families and more facilities.
“I am glad that am here today, to commission the Nigerian Army School of Finance and Administration beautiful complex, ultra-modern classrooms and facilities. From the completion report I got and what we are seeing here on the ground, the works and facilities installed here are of very high quality that will meet any standard in the world.
“I therefore commend the immediate past and current leadership of the Nigerian Army Finance Corps, Major General AA Adesope and Major General AA Fayemiwo for aligning with my vision in the conceptualisation and execution of these projects. You have indeed done well.
“I am pleased to note that the Nigerian Army School of Finance and Administration is a foremost military training institution, which provides skilled work force for the Nigerian Army, sister services and other security and para military agencies in the country.
“I am confident that with additional buildings and infrastructure commissioned today and others coming on board NASFA is being positioned for even better performance. NASFA must therefore justify the resources committed to the institution by ensuring that the quality of your graduates can also compete with their peers from any part of the world and excel. I charge you to also ensure that the facilities are well maintained.”
In his remarks, the Chief of Accounts and Budget (CAB), Major General Adetokunbo Fayemiwo, said since its establishment in 1968, the school had gone through many phases, evolution before arriving at its current status as one of the sought after degree awarding institutions in accounting and relevant fields.
“In 1985 the school secured accreditation from the National Board for Technical Education to train personnel and award both Diploma and Higher National Diploma in Accountancy and Secretarial Studies.
“The school has produced a total of 2,599 graduates of the National Diploma (ND) and 1,943 of Higher National Diploma (HND). These graduates include personnel from sister services.
“The school also trained personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, other security agencies like the Correctional Service (NCoS), Immigration Service (NISA), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), among others.
“The admission into the school which is conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), is indicative of the school’s high standards as reflected in the performance of our graduates.
“Currently we also have five serving Air Vice Marshals of the Nigerian Air Force Directorate of Account and Budget who are graduates of this prestigious institution. The school also has the Military and Service Account Department which trains personnel in various upgrading courses like Clark General Duties, Record Class and Finance Upgrade courses. There are also career courses for Nigerian Army Finance Corps officers.
“In line with the directive of the Chief of Army Staff, the school will soon commence the maiden edition of the Nigerian Army Chief Clark’s course from April 2023, while the Nigerian Army Leadership Corp will also be conducted in conjunction with the Nigeria Institute of Management by May 2023.”
On the school’s evolution, he added that NASFA had evolved over time since its establishment in 1968 as the Nigerian Army Pay Corp training school, with the primary responsibility of training personnel in Military duties, records, and clerical duties.
“At that time the Corp was known as the Nigerian Army Pay and Record, having responsibilities for paid money and record duties,
“However in 1973, in line with the post war reorganisation of the Nigerian Army, the Corp was also reformed and renamed Nigerian Army Pay Corp, under the then Pay Master General.
“Consequently the school was upgraded when it established two additional departments for academic studies namely: Professional Accountancy and Secretarial studies department in 1978.
“ In 1982 the Corp was re-designated to Nigerian Army Finance Corp to reflect the professionalisation status, before it was renamed Nigerian Army School of Finance and Administrator.
” In 1985, the school secured accreditation to the National Board for Technical Education to train personnel and award both Diploma and Higher National Diploma in Accountancy and Secretarial Studies. Suffice to add that the civilian service course has now been re-designated Office Technology and Management,” the Chief of Account and Budget added.
He said it was reflective of cooperation with sister services and other security agencies, which is a cardinal pillar of the vision of the Chief of Army Staff, adding that the graduates of the prestigious institution have always distinguished themselves as several have attained the peaks of their career.
“The Nigerian Army leadership course will also be conducted in conjunction with the Nigerian Institute of Management by May,” he disclosed.
On the construction, he said inaugurated projects included two main lecture halls, four staff offices, school auditorium, female hostel, Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ mess, a refectory and bakery.
“These buildings were initiated by my immediate predecessor in office, in person of Maj.-Gen. AA Adesope, who was then the Chief of Account and Budget. The projects were earmarked to be completed in three phases.
“The first phase commenced in 2021 and consisted of the main buildings of blocks A and B, school auditorium as well as female student hostel. The Chief of Army Staff also graciously approved the construction of a befitting medical centre, sergeants’ mess and canteens.
“The second phase of the project was the furnishing and equipping of the school which commenced in February 2023. I am glad to inform the special guest of honor that this commissioning ceremony marks the completion of the second phase.
“Phase three will be construction of the male hostels which will commence as soon as the Chief of Army Staff grants his blessings,” the CAB added.
The 55th Commandant NASFA, Brigadier General Ehioze Osifo, while giving the vote of thanks, pledged that they would work harder to consistently turn out high quality graduates as a way of sustaining the confidence reposed on them.
“As a school we will always remember this day as a relish and always have you in our memories as dignitaries that honoured us on our great day.
“Having been Commandant of this school in just few weeks, I have seen from experience the hard work and labour that my predecessors in office must have gone through to keep the flag of this school flying.
“I thank you all for your efforts and I pledge that under my watch, this school will continue to excel. We have kept the national flag flying very high and I will give two examples. In the past four years an average of five students have sat for and passed the exams to become chartered accountants yearly.
“Also the school has consistently emerged in the top two positions in the annual accountant quiz competition organised for accountancy students here in Lagos State. We thank you all again for your years of mentorship and certainly we would continue to tap from your experience and wisdom as we pilot the affairs of this prestigious institution…” He said.
While appreciating his predecessors for laying the foundation stone and encouraging others to trail the blaze, he assured that he and his lieutenants would work harder to sustain the confidence reposed in them ,by persistently churning out quality graduates as well as maintaining the facilities.
Present at the occasion were 14 past Commandants of the Nigerian Army School of Finance and Administration, as well as other senior and retired officers.
I will therefore continue to ensure realistic and mission-oriented training towards building professional standards in the Nigerian Army by providing conducive environment for learning, improving skills and competences of instructors and students, sound administration of troops and their families and more facilities