The Nigerian Air Force has honoured five fallen heroes of the NAF Mi-35 Helicopter who died recently while providing air support to troops of 145 battalion in Damasak and others – both serving and retired personnel who have distinguished themselves in the service.
The fallen heroes: Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob – Pilot in Command, Flight Lieutenant Kaltho Paul Kilyofas – Co-Pilot, Sergeant Auwal Ibrahim – Flight Technician, Lance Corporal Adamu Nura – Gunner and Aircraftman Meshack Ishmael – Gunner were given special posthumous award at the Chief of the Air Staff’s annual award ceremony at the weekend.
The NAF also presented a posthumous award to Squadron Leader, Mohammed Baba-Ari, pilot of the ill-fated Independence rehearsal plane crash. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar said the event was aimed at recognizing and honouring some NAF personnel who have distinguished themselves in the course of their duty towards the attainment of relative peace in the country.
He said the NAF will not fail to recognise the sacrifices of its personnel who in the course of duty to this great country paid the supreme price. “Let me assure you that their sacrifice is not in vain as it has further spurred us to remain focused and ever determined in realising a secured, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria. To the families of our deceased colleagues, be rest assured that you are not forgotten.
The NAF will continue to provide the necessary assistance and support in appreciation of the sacrifice of your loved ones,” he said.
The CAS said the outgone year was challenging for the NAF which contributed personnel in several operations, adding that successes of such outing was made possible due to the dogged determination, commitment and sacrifices of officers and men of the service.
He further noted that the ceremony was 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 honoured are a few of the numerous resilient personalities that abound in the NAF.
“They epitomise 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,” he said. Earlier in his welcome address, the Chief of Administration, AVM Kingsley Lar said the award which was in seven categories was in line with NAF’s belief that the contributions of the smallest personnel to the highest in any office should not go unnoticed.
In his address, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha said the recognition and awards are effective management tools that motivate personnel who are doing well to keep up the work and also challenge others performing below expectations to redouble their efforts.
Boss who was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema commended the Chief of the Air Staff for encouraging excellence by ensuring that those who have contributed to the success of the Nigerian Air Force are recognised.