Outgone Chief of Air Staff Sadique Abubakar on Tuesday in Abuja flew out of the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, having served as the 20th Chief of Air Staff.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that in line with the Nigerian Air Force, it is a tradition that Fly-Out parades be held to bid the outgone air chiefs goodbye as they bow out of service.
Mr Abubakar, in his valedictory speech at the parade held at the Air Force Base, Abuja, expressed appreciation to the Almighty God who spared his life throughout his tenure and for making it possible to witness the event.
“I thank God for giving me the exceptional privilege of being at the helm of affairs of NAF since July 13, 2015.
“I thank him for his support and protection during my tenure and for allowing me to successfully exit from the service, having served as the 20th Chief of Air Staff,” he said.
The outgone air chief also expressed his appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerians, for the opportunity to add value to the service as well as to contribute to the security and development of Nigeria.
He also acknowledged the support of the National Assembly, especially Senate and House committees on NAF, the Minister of Defence and his entire staff who contributed immensely to the successes NAF recorded since assumption of duty.
Mr Abubakar, however, congratulated the new Chief of Air Staff, AVM Oladayo Amao, urging him to consolidate on the good work he met on ground.
He also urged all the personnel of the service to continue to give their best in the service of the country.
“I am exceedingly delighted and profoundly honoured that we have worked together as a team with all officers, airmen and airwomen and the civilian staff to move NAF to a much higher level.
“In the last five years, we have been able to restructure and reposition the service into a highly professional and disciplined force.
“The flag of the Nigerian Air Force is today flying high in Agatu, Gembu, Gusau, Katsina, Daura, Owerri to Birin Gwari, Ipetu Ijesha, Kerang, Gombe and Bauchi.
“By the special grace of God, Funtua will soon join up. The current structure will certainly add a lot of value to NAF’s efforts at securing Nigeria and its citizens,” he said.
Mr Abubakar expressed confidence that with the 15 aircraft and eight unmanned combat aerial vehicles the service was expecting in no distant time would better position the service to be more decisive in addressing nation’s security challenges.
He said that with the arrival of the aerial vehicles, NAF would be able to employ air power more effectively, efficiently and timely in all theatres of operations across the country.
Mr Abubakar, therefore, urged the new air chief to sustain and build on the capacity building initiatives his administration put in place in the last five years.
He noted that the service through his initiative had trained and winged 133 pilots who today constitute 49 per cent of all active NAF pilots fighting in different theatre of conflicts to secure Nigeria and protect its citizens.
Mr Abubakar noted further that another 21 pilots would be completing their training before the end of the first quarter to join others in the fight to defend nation’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty.