Nigeria Air Force welcomes first women fighter pilots

Photo courtesy: The Punch
Photo courtesy: The Punch

The Nigerian Air Force inducted 13 new fighter pilots including two women, Kafayat Sanni and Tolulope Arotile.

The new pilots were all trained in the United States and South Africa and are expected to be deployed in the North-East to fight Boko Haram and for security operations in other parts of the country.

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said 101 pilots had been inducted since 2015 while another 111 personnel were undergoing training.

“Out of the 13 pilots to be winged are two female Regular Combatant officers. Not only are they female officers, but they are also outstanding aviators,” Abubakar said. “While one is the first female fighter pilot in the 55-year history of the NAF, the second one is the first female combat helicopter pilot in the history of the service”

Current NAF records indicate the country has trained a total of 67 instructor pilots since 2015.

“We have 61 pilots undergoing ab-initio/basic flying training, while 50 are undergoing various advanced flying training courses both locally and abroad. More so, with the NAF preparing to receive two additional helicopter gunships, our counter-insurgency efforts will soon be greatly enhanced.”

Tallen said the new pilots would help eliminate the “current security challenges facing the North-East and North-West as well as communal clashes, kidnapping and banditry”.

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