From Molly Kilete, Abuja

All is now set for the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF). The celebrations is schedule to hold May 23-25, in Abuja and Kaduna States, with several activities to be held simultaneously in all NAF bases and commands across the country.

At a media briefing in Abuja on the activities lined up for the Anniversary, Chairman Organizing Committee for the event, Air Marshal Michael Ekwueme said that the Diamond jubilee anniversary was not only a time for celebration but also a moment for deep reflection on NAF achievements, challenges and charting the way forward.

Ekueme, flanked by NAF Director of Public Relations and Information Air Vice Marshal Edward Gabkwet and other members of the committee, said over 30 air forces and 10 chiefs of air staff, with over 2,000 participants were being expected at the Conference which will also feature an exhibition.

He said 40 exhibitors including major defence and aerospace players such as Airbus, Embraer, Diamond Aircraft, HAVELSAN, Jet Aviation, and DICON, have indicted interest to take part in the exhibition.

He said “throughout our rich history, the NAF has overcome numerous obstacles, adapted to evolving threats and subsequently emerged stronger and more resilient.

“There is no doubt that the Service has grown over the years into a formidable and respected force within the African continent and beyond. The NAF has continued to fulfil its mandate of securing the territorial integrity of our dear nation through effective application of air power.

” It is pertinent to note that the NAF has made appreciable progress and significant contributions in the areas of internal security, humanitarian assistance, peace-keeping operations, as well as restoration and sustenance of democracy in the African continent.”

The chairman who used the occasion to highlight some of the achievements of the NAF, said the Service had made giant strides in the area of Research & Development, adding that It was only rational to celebrate its existence as well as the laudable achievements of the past 6 decades.

According to him, “the theme of the celebration is “Nigerian Air Force at 60: Leveraging Strategic Partnerships in Aerospace Innovations for Regional Security”.

“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.

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” This year’s theme is aimed at building on partnerships to address contemporary security challenges not only in the country, but across the African region.

” 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.

” Some activities will occur simultaneously in NAF units across the country. These include medical outreaches to various host communities tomorrow Wednesday 15 May, 2024; followed by Juma’at prayers on Friday 17 May, 2024 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.

He explained that due to the emphasis on R&D in the NAF, there would be an Inter-Command Research and Development Competition on the same Saturday 18 May, 2024 here in Abuja.

He said ” the public will witness innovative solutions and projects undertaken and supported by the NAF leadership led by Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar. 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.

Ekueme, while noting that the Third African Air Forces Forum, Conference, and Exhibition would take place from 23 to 24 May 2024 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, 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 20 May.

“The highpoint of the NAF Sixtieth Anniversary Celebration will be on Saturday, 25 May 2024 when we will feature a Ceremonial Parade, Aerial display and Flying out of retired senior officers of 37 and 38 Regular Courses.
“The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR is expected to be the Special Guest of Honour at the occasion.
While commending the contributions of the media to NAF operational activities over the years, he said, ” I wish to state that the recent successes recorded by the NAF under the leadership of Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, Distinguished Flying Star 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”

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