From Molly Kilete, Abuja
The former Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, was on Tuesday flown out of the service of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) at a colourful ceremony held at the Nigerian Air Force base parade ground in Abuja.
Fly Out ceremony is an age long tradition by the Nigerian Air Force held for its Chief as they bow out gracefully from active service after years of meritorious service to the nation.
Abubakar, who was ushered into the parade ground by the NAF, piper band, reviewed a paraded held in his honor before he was eventually flown out of the parade ground in NAF helicopter.
In his farewell address at the Fly Out, Abubakar, who said he spent exactly five years, six months and thirteen days in office as Chief of the Air Staff, expressed gratitude to God for seeing him throughout his career as well and personnel of the service for their support throughout his tenure in office.
The former chief while noting that he was able to form a formidable team with officers, airmen and airwomen as well as civilian staffs to move the Airforce to a much higher level than he met it said, “In the last 5 years, we have been able to restructure and reposition the Nigerian Air Force into a highly professional and disciplined force.
‘The flag of the Nigerian Airforce is today flying high from Agatu to Gembu to Gusau to Katsina to Daura to Owerri to Birin Gwari, Ipetu Ijesha, Kerang, Gombe and Bauchi. By the special grace of God Funtua will soon join up. The current structure will certainly add a lot of value to NAF’s efforts at securing Nigeria and the Nigerian people. I am confident that with the 15 aircraft and 8 unmanned combat aerial vehicles we are expecting in no distant future the service will be better positioned to be more decisive in addressing the security challenges facing the nation.
‘The Nigerian Air Force would be able to employ air power more effectively, efficiently and timely in all theatres of operations across the country.
‘I want to encourage you to sustain and build on the capacity building initiatives we have put in place in the last 5 years. The service through this initiative has trained and winged 133 pilots who today constitute 49% of all active NAF pilots that are fighting in different theatres of conflicts to secure our country and protect our people. Another 21 pilots will be completing their training before the end of the first quarter of 2021 to join their comrades in the fight to defend our territorial integrity and National sovereignty. In the area of bridging the gap in force projection and force protection we have made tremendous progress in training NAF Special Forces and force protection elements who have been recognised as a formidable force both within and outside Nigeria.
‘We have also enhanced our research and development capacity through our partnership with 15 Nigerian universities to significantly address some of our aircraft maintenance challenges. I must not fail to recognise the crucial role played by the incoming Chief of the Air Staff and other senior officers still in the Service in our R&D efforts. I am very confident that the current Chief of the Air Staff has all it takes to move the Air Force to a much higher level. It is my prayer that the Almighty will grant you the wisdom and strength to move the Air Force to a more enviable height.
‘Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to appreciate Branch Chiefs, Air Officers Commanding and highly committed and dedicated officers, airmen and airwomen of the Nigerian Air Force who have worked hard to take the service to where it is today. I deeply appreciate you all for your selfless contributions to the success of what we achieved in the last 5 years. We have every reason to thank Almighty God for his support and protection during my tenure. We collectively have every reason also to celebrate our achievements. I enjoin you all to extend the support you extended to me or even more to my successor and urge you all to keep on giving your best in the service of our Great Country, especially at this critical time in our history when we are facing unprecedented challenges to our security and sovereignty. I am optimistic that, Nigerian will remain on the trajectory to becoming a great Nation that we all will be proud of. For us to achieve this objective every Nigerian has a role to play. I, therefore, want to appeal to all Nigerians to join hands with all our men and women in uniform to create a secured and united Nigeria.
‘As I exit the Nigerian Air Force, I am leaving the service fulfilled because I have substantially achieved what I set out to achieve. I want to thank all my family members especially my aged mother for their support, prayers and understanding. Finally, I want to once again congratulate the Chief of the Air Staff on his appointment as the 21st Chief of the Air Staff. I wish you God’s guidance as you preside over the leadership of our service.’