…To Commence Degree Programme in September 2018
In its bid to improve on the level of aerospace and allied education provided for the Nigeria Air Force (NAF), the nation and sub-Saharan Africa countries in producing technical manpower and support to aerospace industry through Research and Development efforts, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar has opted for the upgrade of the Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) from Monotechnic status to a Degree awarding institution.
The CAS made the request when he led a delegation comprising Senior Officers of the NAF to interface with the Management of the National Universities Commission (NUC) on the steps taken so far to ensure the smooth commencement of degree programme in specialized fields of studies in AFIT.
The CAS stated that the University would be ready with its documents for approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) even before the memo on the University gets to the Council.
He noted that the institute have been on operation and since inception graduated over 5,000 students and plans to delve into manufacturing of aircraft spare parts to meet the technical needs of the NAF.
According to Him, “we are fully involved in the local content policy of the Federal Government and we are going to render full support to enhance the operational capacity of the NAF. If aircraft are on ground you cannot operate, so we are happy with the policy of looking inward and AFIT will discharge its responsibility in that direction.’’
On the University project, Air Marshal Abubakar said that it was envisioned with the mind to bridge the serious gap witnessed in the use of hardware in the conduct of the NAF assignment in recent times. He explained that the NAF should have a professional training institution for its personnel in terms of providing for its logistics requirements.
“The Nigerian Air Force of today cannot afford to remain static and must therefore explore the fields of Science, Engineering and even the Humanities”, the CAS said
The CAS noted that, following the passage of the enabling law setting up the institute, it plans to get more involved in academics and research in line with its mandate. He also briefed the NUC boss on what has been done so far and the likely direction for progress with the passage of AFIT Establishment Bill into law on the 5th of December 2017.
Speaking further, the CAS disclosed that the institute is meeting its mandate to the NAF and the country in producing technical manpower and support to enhance service capability and efficiency. He cited some of the efforts of the institute to include producing an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, now being upgraded to serve the nation better.
He noted that the NAF is irrevocably committed towards the actualization of the take-off of the Institution by September 2018 for the Degree programme.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof Rasheed Adamu Abubakar disclosed that the commission is working based on outcome of its discussions during the earlier visit of the NAF Committee to facilitate the accreditation of the AFIT.
The Executive Secretary also thanked the NAF for showing interest not only on its own personnel alone but for the advancement of education in the country with the proposal to establish a unique university that would cater for both the Military and the Civilian populace.
He pledged to ensure that the University gets enlisted as a beneficiary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Intervention Programmes as soon as it commences academic activities.
According to Professor Rasheed, the NUC was excited that the Air Force University would not be exclusively for the Military but envisioned to cater for the entire society. This, he said, would lead to the advancement of knowledge when people of all strata participate in research generation in the University, thereby bringing about the harvest of knowledge that would impact on the nation’s development.
With the uniqueness of the University, the Executive Secretary acknowledged that it would be able to address a number of issues that borders on Science and Engineering, especially since all its programmes are to be practically-oriented. This, according to him, would enable its students to be trained not only in repairing military hardware, but to invent and patent their own military products.
He added that the planned focus of the University on programmes like Cyber Security and Intelligence Gathering was welcomed which, he disclosed, that NUC was already working for the development of its curriculum.
The NUC boss thanked the CAS for the visit and promised to provide necessary interventions for the institute to meet its mandate.
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