By Joy Odor
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has hosted 4 talented youths from Ilorin, Kwara State, who had built an aircraft prototype capable of ground motion.
This is in Pursuant to its commitment towards the enhancement of Nigeria’s National Research and Development (R&D) efforts as well as the encouragement of youth participation in innovative endeavours.
The efforts of the 4 youths; Mr Musa Aliyu, Mr Abdulateef Anafi, Mr Abbas Jamiu and Mr Jimoh Ahmed; came to light after a video of them taxiing the prototype aircraft they built was circulated via social media.
The gifted youths, who were airlifted from Ilorin to and from Kaduna by a NAF aircraft, were taken on tour of the Air Force Research and Development Centre (AFRDC), Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) as well as 401 Flying Training School (401 FTS) and 431 Engineering Group (431 Egr Gp) in NAF Base Kaduna to further expose them to aircraft engineering, aircraft R&D and aircraft operations.
At the AFRDC, the young innovators were received by the Principal Director of the Centre, AVM Austine Imafidor, and shown the processes involved in R&D as it relates to both manned and unmanned aircraft.
They also had the opportunity to interact with Aerospace Engineers and other Specialists involved in some of the R&D efforts of the Service.
At AFIT, one of NAF’s prominent Research Fellows, Group Captain Osy Ubadike (PhD), briefed them on what they need to study in order to be good maintenance or design engineers for aircraft systems, while at 401 FTS and 431 Engr Gp, the youths were shown the basic mechanisms of aircraft flying as well as its components, maintenance and repairs.
To give them a feel of what it means to fly an aircraft, the young men were given the opportunity to conduct a tutored taxi of the NAF Diamond DA-40 trainer aircraft.
Speaking during the event, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who was represented by the NAF Chief of Standards and Evaluation, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Remigius Ekeh, noted that, as stakeholders in the Nigerian Aviation Industry, the NAF has always encouraged local talent in science and technology, especially in aviation-related innovations.
This, he noted, was in line with 2 of the Key Drivers of his Vision, namely; Reinforcing a Culture of Self-Reliance and Prudent Management of Resources, as well as Strategic Partnership with MDAs for Enhanced R&D.
The CAS highlighted that the NAF had, on many occasions in the past, identified gifted individuals and facilitated the harnessing of their talent for increased capacity and the betterment of the Nigerian society at large.
He further stated that, having been apprised of the uncommon passion and efforts of the 4 youths towards aircraft development, the NAF had invited them to Kaduna with a view to encouraging them, while also exploring avenues to best harness their potentials.
“The intention is to expose the gentlemen to aircraft engineering, aircraft R&D and aircraft operations.
By this, they will have a good conception of how an aircraft is designed, manufactured and operated”, he added.
He asserted that, with the experience of the tour and exposure, the gentlemen were better prepared to make decisions about their future.
“The NAF remains willing to assist them in anyway possible”, he said.
Also present at the event were the NAF Director of R&D, AVM Paul Jemitola, as well as the Representatives of AFIT Commandant and Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command, along with other senior NAF officers.
The NAF has, over the past few years, made it a policy to encourage those who have a flair for R&D.
In this regard, the NAF granted scholarships to gifted and creative individuals who qualify to undergo various courses of study at AFIT.
One of such individuals is Mr Armstrong Buba, a talented young technician, who has made significant contributions to the NAF’s R&D efforts.
Scholarship was similarly awarded to Ibrahim Dogo, the son of a retired NAF personnel, who is currently studying at AFIT.
The NAF also offered scholarships to some young inventors from Sapele, Delta State.
However, they are yet to take up the offer. Today’s gesture of support to the 4 Ilorin youths is therefore the fourth of such interventions by the NAF.
Director of Public Relations & Information
Nigerian Air Force
20 October 2020