Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Federal government has commended the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) for its efforts at harnessing the available research and development potential in the military aviation sector.
The Federal government has also been commended the NAF for its good job of confronting the current internal security challenges bedevilling the country.
Vice President Yemi Osibajo gave the commendation at the opening of the Nigerian Air Force Research and Development Competition/Exhibition Year to mark 55th anniversary of the service in Abuja.
Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha on the occasion, Osibajo said the Muhammadu Buhari-led government has made modernisation, re-equipping and continuous training of the Nigerian Armed Forces a top priority in its bid to reposition the service to cope with the security challenges.
According to him, “the Nigerian Armed forces have in recent times been very busy doing a good job of confronting our nation’s current multifaceted internal security challenges. In a bid to reposition the Armed Forces to better cope with those challenges, our administration has made the modernisation, re-equipping and continuous training of the Nigerian Armed Forces a top priority.
“There is no doubt that the resources required to realise the full potentials of the Armed Forces are limited in view of the competing demands from other sectors. The Federal government will continue to do its best to sustain the current tempo of development.
“Nevertheless, it has become more important than ever before that we really look inwards and gradually wean ourselves of overdependence on foreign technology and become more innovative in the use of local resources.
“It is in view of the foregoing that I want to specially commend the Nigerian Air Force for the efforts being made at harnessing the available research and development potentials, especially in the military aviation sector. I have been a keen admirer of the Nigerian Air Force, having been following the great strides it has been attaining as a service. I recollect that in February 2018, the Nigerian Air Force was able to induct into the service an indigenous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. I am equally aware of the efforts in collaboration with other partners to produce the first ever made-in-Nigeria aircraft at the Air Force Research and Development Centre in Kaduna.
“I also took particular interest in the recent rehabilitation of the machine tools workshops in Makurdi and Ikeja by the Nigerian Air Force, in collaboration with Oshogbo Machine Tools and the University of Maiduguri. Without any doubt, such research and development initiatives have been of use to the service as well as to the nation.”
He, therefore, called for joint partnerships to fund more research and development activities in the country.
“To consolidate on these modest achievements, I wish to appeal to other public and private organisations to hold this sort of exhibition that will promote research and development efforts. In line with our policy to promote local content, I would like to assure you that this administration shall encourage and support all meaningful civil-military research programmes towards making our Armed Forces more self-reliant.”
The exhibition which was part of activities lined up to mark 56 years of the NAF, featured products manufactured locally by the various units, commands and formations of the Nigerian Air Force like locally-made weapons, tyre breakers, foreign objects debris, charging dock for obsolete runway markers, runway edge lights, hexacopter, JC-6Rocket Launcher, coil bell, FM/GSM, jammer among others.