At NAF 60th Anniversary, Tinubu Promises to Prioritise Security, Welfare of Armed Forces

*Vows to invest more in state-of-the-art aircraft, equipment to combat insecurity

*CDS: Security challenges have made the armed forces to evolve joint training

Deji Elumoye in Abuja and John Shiklam in Kaduna

President Bola Tinubu has pledged his government’s commitment to prioritising national security and the welfare of the armed forces.
The president also expressed committed to standing with the armed forces through challenges, triumphs, and grief, not as repayment but as an assurance of the nation’s unwavering support.

This is just as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher Musa, stated that the security challenges confronting the nation has made the Armed Forces to evolve continuous joint training with emphasis on physical exercise and sports.
Speaking yesterday at the Ceremonial Parade to Commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in Kaduna, Kaduna State, President Tinubu, who was represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to prioritising security, noting that development cannot be guaranteed without a secure nation.

“In my inaugural address a year ago, I noted that security would be the top priority of my administration because we can never guarantee the development we have proposed unless each part of this great nation is secure. This is why we have continued to support the modernization efforts of our Armed Forces to address national and sub-regional security challenges,” he declared.

To address national and sub-regional security challenges, the president disclosed his administration’s substantial investments in procuring state-of-the-art multi-role combat aircraft, attack helicopters, sensors, and equipment to enhance the Nigerian Air Force’s capabilities.
These acquisitions, including Beechcraft King Air 360 aircraft, Diamond 62 surveillance aircraft, T-129 ATAK helicopters, Agusta 109 trekker multi-role helicopters, and M-346 attack aircraft, aim to boost the nation’s combat and airlift capabilities.
President Tinubu called for a whole-of-society approach to tackling Nigeria’s security challenges, even as he acknowledged the socio-economic factors contributing to security challenges.

He hailed NAF’s six decades of service, sacrifice, and patriotism.
He said: “I bear with me today the gratitude of a nation that has watched your transformation into a formidable and resilient organisation, vigilant of the dynamics and complexities of security threats within and outside our borders for this long”.
President Tinubu praised the critical role played by the Nigerian Air Force in maintaining regional and sub-regional peace and security, expressing pride in the institution’s formidable and resilient transformation over the years.

Expressing confidence in the country’s eventual sound economic rebound, he said: “We are confident that this temporary sacrifice will come to an end soon, and the country will be on the sound economic footing we have promised the nation,” he stated.
The President paid tribute to the surviving members of the first set of pioneer NAF personnel, veterans, and fallen comrades, acknowledging their bravery, commitment, and service to the nation.

Aligning with the event’s theme, “Nigerian Air Force at 60: Leveraging Strategic Partnerships in Aerospace Innovations for Regional Security,” President Tinubu welcomed the participation of various partners and air forces from around the world, particularly from Africa.
He stressed the need for collaboration and developing partnerships with friends and allies to collectively address shared threats in the sub-region and beyond.
Earlier, a representative of Courses 37 and 38 of the Nigerian Air Force who retired from the Force recently, Air Vice Marshal Charles Ohwo, recalled “with nostalgia, the moment they were enrolled into the Airforce about 38 years ago.”
He noted that seeing the journey from then, he cannot but thank God, adding that many of them had gone unceremoniously from the service.

CDS: Security Challenges Have Made the Armed Forces to Evolve Joint Training

Meanwhile, the CDS, General Musa, has stated that the security challenges confronting the nation has made the Armed Forces to evolve continuous joint training with emphasis on physical training and sports.
General Musa said sporting activities are critical to sharpening the physical fitness, mental alertness and skills of military personnel to ensure combat readiness.
He stated this in Abuja at the Inter-Command Combat Sports Competition organised by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) as part of the activities to commemorate its 60th Anniversary.

The CDS said the sportsmanship exhibited during the keenly contested activities gave credence to the premium placed on sports by the Armed Forces towards enhancing the combat readiness of personnel.
“It is my belief, therefore, that the continuity and sustainability of this level of training and competition, coupled with the equipping of the Armed Forces will develop the required capacity to overcome these challenges.
“The Nigerian Air Force no doubt places high premium on sporting activities through the annual 10- kilometer walk, route matches, annual fitness test programme and the just concluded combat sports.

 “This effort certainly underscored the value the service has given to the physical and mental health of its personnel.
“I encourage you to sustain your drive for personal development, taking cognizance of the fact that human capital remains the most critical component of any organisation, as many studies have shown,” he said.
The CDS congratulated the participants for the display of resilience and spirit of sportsmanship.
He added that participants in the combat sports exhibited sacrifice, discipline, self-control, team spirit, tenacity, physical and moral courage, as well as the zeal to win.

“As Nigeria passes through this defining moment in its history, our Armed Forces are required more often than ever before, to deliver on its constitutional mandate of securing our dear country.
“I enjoy you all, therefore, to sustain and improve upon the ideals which you have displayed this evening,” he added.
Also speaking, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, said having sound physical and mental health was imperative for the armed forces in discharging their constitutional responsibilities.

Abubakar said active participation in sports enabled the personnel to keep physically fit while providing the much-needed outlet to cope with the rigours of military duty.

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