NAF honours fallen heroes, others in Abuja

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has honoured five officers who died in the line of duty in 2018 with the posthumous gallantry award.

NAF, during the Chief of Air Staff annual award 2018 organised by the service in Abuja, also and honoured others who made remarkable contributions to the Service.

Those honoured with the post humous gallantry awards are: Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob – Pilot in Command; Flight Lt- Kaltho Paul Kilyofas – Co-Pilot; Sgt. Auwal Ibrahim – Flight Technician; Lance Corporal Adamu Nura and Aircraftman Meshack Ishmael, both Gunners.

The gallant officers died in combat in the NAF Mi-35M Helicopter crash on Jan. 2 in Borno while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion in Damasak, Borno.

Other Officers honoured in the Senior Officers Category are: Wing Commander Mohammed Umar, Sqn. Ldr. Sunkanmi Akinbohun and Sqn.Ldr. Ubong Sunday.

Sqn.Ldr. Bello Baba-Ari, who died during air display rehearsal for the 58th independence anniversary was also honoured with a posthumous award.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said the NAF would not fail to recognise sacrifices of colleagues who, in the course of duty, paid the supreme price.

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“We will not fail to recognise the sacrifices of our colleagues 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 to realise 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 necessary assistance and support in appreciation of the sacrifice of your loved ones.’’

Abubakar urged the awardees not to rest on their oars.

“To the awardees, I will like to remind you that you cannot afford to lose steam or ‘rest on your oars.

“Though this award is in recognition of your contributions towards the actualisation of NAF key objectives, it also comes with a burden of responsibility.

“I therefore urge you to keep up the good work and do not relent.

“To the many other personnel that are not in the limelight at this very moment, your contribution to the progress of the Service is not unnoticed,’’ Abubakar said.

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For his part, the Secretary to the Federal Government, Mr Boss Mustapha, said President Muhammadu Buhari would continue to provide the necessary support and encouragement to the Nigerian Air Force.

“I am also pleased that the Chief of the Air Staff has thought it expedient to recognise the officers and airmen who paid the supreme sacrifice in the course of safeguarding our dear nation,’’ he said.

Mustapha was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.

Other categories of the awards are Junior officers’ category which has two awardees – Flight Lieutenant Ibrahim Gambomi Goni and Flying Officer Jeremiah Dogonzo.

Squadron Leader Fredrick Oyenusi emerged as the Best Overall in Order of Merit and received the revered Armed Forces Command and Staff College Tie of Merit for attaining a “B” Grade, which was last obtained over 2 decades ago.

He also won the Tie of Merit and Best Commandant’s Research Paper and Best Director’s Research Paper.

Various categories of personnel, including the Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCOs), were also honoured.

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