The Nigerian Air Force, NAF, has inaugurated training for another batch of 219 Special Forces (SF) personnel and graduated 24 rappellers to boost internal security operations in the country.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, made this known at the inauguration of the special forces and graduation of the Intermediate Rappelling Course 7/2020 on Friday in Bauchi.
According to him, the course is the seventh of such training programmes by the current NAF administration, and the first to be conducted at the Regiment Training Centre, RTC, Annex, Bauchi.
Mr Abubakar said that out of the 357 personnel drafted for the special forces course, only 219 would undergo the training as 24 rapellers graduate.
The CAS, represented by the Air Officer Commanding Ground Training Command (AOC GTC), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Idi Amin, added that the NAF Special Forces’ training was borne out of the need to ensure robust defence of Nigeria’s territory.
He said “as part of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, NAF is constitutionally obligated to protect the lives and property of Nigerians, so that they can go about their legitimate businesses unhindered.
“Currently, NAF is recording significant successes in the fight against insurgency in the North- East, as well as against banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling in the North West and North-Central parts of the country.
“In order to consolidate on the gains made so far, the Force recently activated the 203 Combat Reconnaissance Group, Gombe, for enhanced capability in providing timely and actionable intelligence to contain insecurity.”
Mr Abubakar said that the training of selected Regiment personnel as Special Operations Force elements had become even more crucial.
“This is in line with the practice of modern air forces around the world, which now deploy specially-trained ground forces to provide situational awareness for aircrew, thereby reducing collateral damage and enhancing safe conduct of air operations,” he said.
The Air Force boss added that this informed the establishment of the Special Operations Command, with Headquarters in Bauchi, as well as Quick Response Groups/Wings in Gusau, Owerri, Ipetu-Ijesa, Katsina, Birnin-Gwari, Gembu, Agatu and Lafia, among others.
According to him, SF capabilities hold great importance to military operations worldwide.
“They are capable of operating in all types of terrain and weather conditions to achieve favourable resolution of security threats,” he noted.
Abubakar charged them to be prepared to put in their best and draw on every ounce of determination and resilience in them to excel.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for supporting NAF toward providing highly skilled and professional manpower to meet the Air Force’s operational requirements.
The chief of air staff also inaugurated 10 one-bedroom flats for non-commissioned officers and the Bauchi NAF Base to ease their accommodation problem.
Earlier, the Acting Commandant, Regiment Training Centre Annex, Bauchi, Sqn. Ldr. Using Jantika, said 357 Regiment, Intelligence and Personnel, were nominated for the Special Forces screening.
He explained that “on completion of medical screening for the Special Forces, 111 were reported to be medically unfit for engagements, 18 voluntarily withdrew from the course and nine failed to report due to service exigencies.”
He noted that only 219 personnel comprising 14 officers and 205 airmen/airwomen were successful, while 28 Special Forces instructors were nominated for the Intermediate Rappelling Course.