- The annual Chief of Air Staff awards ceremony was held on Saturday, January 26
- The ceremony was organised to appreciate and honour NAF personnel who have distinguished themselves in the performance of their duties during the past year
- The personnel are being specially recognized for making outstanding contributions to the development of the NAF
The annual Chief of Air Staff awards ceremony was held at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Officers Mess Kado Abuja on Saturday, January 26.
The ceremony was held to celebrate selected NAF personnel, its fallen heroes and some civilian staff who have distinguished themselves in the performance of their duties during the past year within the service.
The personnel are being specially recognized for making outstanding contributions to the development of the NAF.
The recipients of the award were deemed to have demonstrated courage, resilience, commitment, ingenuity and dedication to service within the purview of their assigned tasks.
This includes those who have demonstrated courage and bravery in the line of duty, among whom are those who have paid the supreme price in service to Nigeria.
Awards were also presented to officers of air rank who retired from the service from September 2017 to date to recognize their years of invaluable contributions to the NAF and the nation.
Among those honoured were Squadron Leader Bello Baba-Ari who died when his F-Ni fighter jet collided with another during the final drill for the air parade that was to be displayed on Monday, October 1, during the celebration of Nigeria’s 58th independence anniversary.
Also honoured were the five crew members on board an MI-35 helicopter that crashed during combat in the northeast recently.
The Nigerian Air Force Officers' Wives Association (NAFOWA) were also specially honoured for their empowerment programmes across NAF Bases in the country.
Speaking at the event, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Saddique Abubakar, said The operational successes achieved particularly in the out-gone year would not have been possible without the dogged determination, commitment and sacrifices made by officers and men of the NAF.
His words: “These personnel operate under very demanding and tough conditions in the various theatres of operations, with some unfortunately paying the supreme sacrifice.
“Hence, this event is aimed at recognizing and honouring some NAF personnel who have distinguished themselves in the course of their duty.
“These personnel have made significant contributions towards the attainment of NAF overall objectives, while some amongst them have made huge sacrifices to ensure the preservation of peace and security in the country.
“The occasion is also meant to celebrate personnel who showed courage in the face of terror and exhibited strength where others saw fear; personnel who applied ingenuity where others perceived impossibility.
“It is this courage, ingenuity and resourcefulness variously demonstrated by our personnel that we all are gathered here tonight to celebrate by giving special recognition to those who deserve it.
“The men and women that would be honoured tonight are a few of the numerous resilient personalities that abound in the NAF. They epitomized one of the core values of the NAF, which is “Service before self.”
“Through their efforts, I have no doubt that we are on our way to building a fighting force the nation yearns for and the Air Force that we all would be proud of.”
Some senior NAF officers who recently retired from active service were also honoured at the event.
Air Marshal Abubakar advised the awardees not to rest on their oars, stressing that the award comes with a burden of responsibility.
To the families of the deceased personnel, the CAS promised that the NAF will continue to provide them with necessary assistance and support in appreciation of the sacrifice of their loved ones.
There was also a speech by the Guest of Honour, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Mr Boss Mustapha, who was represented by the minister of foreign affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.
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Meanwhile, the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, was laid to rest at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja on Wednesday, January 23.
The funeral of the former defence chief was attended by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Naval Staff, and the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar.
Also, present at the funeral were friends and family members of the late defence chief, including his colleagues and military personnel.
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