President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on collaboration and partnership with technological, innovative institutions, industries and individuals, to enhance its performance and operational capacity.
Buhari, represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, gave the task at the ceremonial parade and aerial display marking the 59th Anniversary Celebration of NAF, otherwise known as NAF Day 2023 in Enugu on Saturday.
He urged the Airforce to increase its local capacity building through practical and purposeful collaboration and partnership with technological-innovative institutions, industries and individuals to improve on its platforms.
“This would enhance your performance to counter contemporary and emerging security challenges,” he said.
He said NAF should strive to expand its collaboration beyond the military.
”By this, I mean collaboration with the academia, industries, with civilian technologists and independent innovators and creators and think-tanks.
“However, I have had discussions with the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, and he told me that collaborations with our universities and research institutions are already ongoing,” he said.
“There is a great amount of potentials waiting to be unleashed from this collaboration and partnership,” he said.
“This administration has committed substantial national resources to enhance the overall capabilities of the Armed Forces, especially the NAF.”
“The huge investments in expanding the capacity of the Nigerian Air Force have led to the turning of the tide against insecurity and activities of other violent non-state actors in our nation,” he said.
“We must also commend the renewed focus on research and innovation and the policy of the present Chief of Air Staff, which is far-sighted and it builds on the tradition the air force had established over the years.”
Buhari said NAF had proved its mettle since the years of its establishment, both local and international.
“I am highly impressed by the parade and aerial displays put up by the Nigerian Air Force in this event.”
“Indeed, our air force is willing and able at any time to deliver on its mandates and capability and it can and always stand shoulder to shoulder with any other advanced air forces in any countries of the world,” he said.
Buhari, who enumerated various fighting aircraft and other platforms acquired for NAF in his administration, appreciated NAF for locally and ingeniously resuscitating some aircraft in its fighting fleets.
The president also inducted some new platforms of NAF, including DA-62 (Special Mission Aircraft) and Wing Loong II (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle).
The event was attended by Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao and representative of Chief of Naval Staff.
Also various chiefs in special arms of the Nigerian military were also present as well as retired military officers.