The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) today, 28 February 2020, inaugurated another Special Forces (SF) Induction Course and commissioned Obstacle Course and Rappelling Tower at the Regiment Training Centre (RTC) Annex, NAF Base Bauchi. Speaking during the occasion, the Guest of Honour (GOH, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who was represented by the Air Officer Commanding Ground Training Command (AOC GTC), Air Vice Marshal Idi Amin, noted that the contemporary security challenges facing the Nation had necessitated the training of more personnel as Special Operations operatives. “These operatives enable us to achieve effects outside the perimeter thereby conferring upon us the necessary advantages to confront asymmetric threats”, he added.
Speaking further, the CAS disclosed that, in line with his Vision to transform the NAF into a highly professional and disciplined force through capacity building initiatives for effective, efficient and timely employment of airpower in response to our national security imperatives, as well as one of the key drivers, which hinges on human capacity development for improved professional performance, the NAF had increased the number of personnel recruited into the Service with a view to building the capability of Regiment personnel in protecting NAF units. He further noted that the NAF had trained 4,000 personnel both locally and overseas to meet specialized needs in Force Protection. He added that the NAF had also built specialized training facilities such as Commando training villages and rappelling towers for the continuous training of Regiment/ SF in Kaduna, Ipetu-Ijesa, Gusau and Bauchi.
While congratulating the students for scaling through the grueling screening process, the GOH, charged them to imbibe the attributes of special operatives which include honesty, courage, perseverance and adaptability to enable them earn a place among the elite team of NAF ‘PANTHERS’. He also seized the opportunity to appreciate the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for the priority attention and support given to the NAF, which, he said, has impacted positively on the NAF in the areas of training, operational efficiency and improved welfare. He therefore assured of the NAF’s unalloyed loyalty and commitment to continue supporting the Federal Government’s policy thrust of providing security, improved economy and fighting corruption.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commandant RTC Annex Bauchi, Wing Commander Kehinde Akinyosade, said the course was aimed at equipping trainees with the necessary skills, tactics and procedures required to function effectively as operatives in the NAF SF unit. He further mentioned that the RTC, which is tasked with conducting basic and advanced training for personnel of the Regiment Specialty, has 2 annexes in Bauchi and Ipetu-Ijesa, which conduct specialized training for desert and jungle terrain, respectively. He further disclosed that SF Course 6/2020, which is the second being conducted at RTC Annex Bauchi using indigenous instructors, has a total of 117 personnel, comprising 7 officers and 110 airmen/airwomen, who were selected from an initial 275 personnel who reported for screening.
The occasion featured live firing at the shooting range site as well as the commissioning of a 40ft rappelling tower and obstacle course, which has 23 different apparatus including the sky scraper, ‘Burma’ bridge, deep pool, treble stride ditch, 15ft double wall and swinging duck bridge, amongst others. Another highlight of the event was the crossing of the obstacle course by selected students of the course. Dignitaries that graced the occasion include the AOC Special Operations Command, Directors from NAF Headquarters, Commanders of co-located NAF units as well as heads of other security agencies in Bauchi.
It is noteworthy that the NAF is currently conducting Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) training for 35 Regiment/SF personnel at the RTC Annex Ipetu-Ijesha, while 2 more SF courses are planned to take place during the year. One is expected to take place at the 211 Quick Response Group Owerri and the other is expected to hold at Toru-Orua in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.