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NAF Unveils Activities to Mark 60th Anniversary

…Adopts Public-Private Partnership to Save Cost

By Gabriel Ameh, The Sight New

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), has announced activities ahead of its 60th anniversary celebration scheduled to hold from 23rd to 25th May 2024.

This year, the Force will be commemorating six decades of unwavering dedication to safeguarding the skies and defending national sovereignty. 

From its humble beginnings in 1964 to its current status as a formidable force in the African continent, the NAF has continually evolved, adapting to emerging challenges while upholding its core values of integrity, excellence, and service to the nation.

Disclosing this in Abuja on Monday May 14, 2024 at a media briefing, the Chairman Organizing Committee of the NAF @ 60, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Micheal Ekwueme, stated that the 60th celebration will hold in Abuja and Kaduna with the theme  “Nigerian Air Force at 60: Leveraging Strategic Partnerships in Aerospace Innovations for Regional Security”.

The theme, he noted, is aimed at building on partnerships to address contemporary security challenges not only in the country, but across the African region, adding that this is in line with one of the key enablers of the Chief of the Air Staff’s Command Philosophy which is ‘prioritising research and development, leveraging cutting-edge technology and strategic partnerships’. 

Ekwueme further stated that to mark this year’s celebration, a series of activities have been lined up to enlighten the citizens of the contributions of the NAF in enhancing the security of our dear nation. 

According to him, some activities will occur simultaneously in NAF units across the country and  these activities include: medical outreaches to various host communities tomorrow Wednesday 15th, followed by Juma’at prayers on Friday 17th in all NAF units. 

On Saturday, 18 May, 2024, there will be an outreach by the Nigerian Air Force Officers’ Wives Association (NAFOWA) in Abuja. 

Furthermore, he explained that, “Due to the emphasis on R&D in the NAF, there will be an Inter-Command Research and Development Competition on the same Saturday 18 May, 2024 here in Abuja and you will witness innovative solutions and projects undertaken and supported by the NAF leadership led by Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar and there will also be a Golf Kitty on Saturday 18 May 2024 at NAF Base Bill Clinton Drive Abuja. 

“There will be an Inter-Denominational Church Service  on 19 May, 2024 in all NAF bases. On May 20, 2024, there will be the unveiling of the newly licensed NAF Micro-finance Bank and the commissioning of several projects completed by the current leadership of the NAF in Abuja, while the Third African Air Forces Forum, Conference, and Exhibition will take place from 23 to 24 May 2024 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja”. 

Continuing, he said, “We are expecting over 2,000 participants at the Conference and exhibition, over 30 Air Forces and 10 Chiefs of Air Staff, 40 exhibitors including major defence and aerospace players such as Airbus, Embraer, Diamond Aircraft, HAVELSAN, Jet Aviation, and of course our own DICON.

“There will also be an Inter-Command NAF Combat Sports Competition, on 24 May, at the newly completed and soon-to-be-commissioned NAF Base, Sports complex Asokoro, Abuja, the complex being one of the projects to be commissioned on May 20th”.

AVM Ekwueme noted that the high point of the  Celebration will be on Saturday, May 25, 2024 when they will feature a Ceremonial Parade, Aerial Display and Flying out of retired senior officers of 37 and 38 Regular Courses, adding that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is expected to be the Special Guest of Honour at the occasion.

He further stated that the leadership of the NAF, having adequately considered the prevailing economic situation in the country, decided to adopt a cost-saving and novel approach in organizing this year’s celebration. 

According to him, “For the first time, the NAF is adopting a Public- Private-Partnership model to organise and fund this event. That is, a company, The Great Minds Event Management based in Dubai is bringing in foreign exhibitors and participants to participate in the Conference and Exhibition as well as sponsor the event in various degrees while local exhibitors will also be participating. 

“Furthermore, we have secured sponsorships from some state governments and organisations. Some of our sponsors include Rivers, Enugu, Taraba, Kaduna and Bauchi State Governments. We also have the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory, Air Peace and Transcorp Hilton. There are also some companies including CATIC, ALIT and CETC. 

“The event will be a good platform to showcase the capabilities of our local defence companies while DICON will be leading a Nigerian military industrial complex made up of several local defence equipment manufacturers such as EPAIL, a local manufacturer of ballistic vests, helmets and armoured vehicles”, he said.

He disclosed that the recent successes recorded by the NAF under the leadership of Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, in the past 10 months would not have been made possible without the cooperation and constant support of the media. 

“I therefore wish to commend your sense of patriotism and cooperation in building a strong and virile nation as well as promoting peace and unity in our dear country. 

“This year, the NAF will be celebrating its 60 years of existence and this Diamond jubilee anniversary is not only a time for celebration but also a moment for deep reflection on our accomplishments, challenges and charting the way forward. 

“Throughout our rich history, the NAF has overcome numerous obstacles, adapted to evolving threats and subsequently emerged stronger and more resilient”, he emphasized.

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