By REMILEKUN DARAMOLA in Maiduguri
A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) officer, Squadron Leader Fredrick Oyenusi, has won the prestigious “Tie of Merit”, which is only awarded to a distinguished student of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji, who obtains a ‘B’ grade.
Squadron Leader Oyenusi’s feat, which had not been recorded for over 20 years, was recognised during the graduation ceremony of Senior Staff Course 40, which took place at AFCSC Jaji on Friday.
Oyenusi also won four additional awards namely the Best in Tri-Service Terms, Best Commandant’s Paper, Best Director’s Paper in the Directorate of Air Warfare (DAW) and the first in order of Merit in DAW.
The senior NAF officer, who is a C-130H aircraft pilot, holds two Masters degrees; one in Aerospace Vehicle Design and the other in Safety Engineering, both from two different universities in the United Kingdom, namely Cranfield University and University of Aberdeen respectively.
It is equally worthy of note that, in order of merit, five NAF officers were in the top six positions, ahead of their Army and Naval counterparts, at the end of the course.
In addition to Squadron Leader Oyenusi, who came first, Squadron Leaders Austin Idoko, Hakeem Sarki and Chinedu Mbam occupied the second, third and fourth positions overall while Squadron Leader Fulus Kaze emerged sixth overall.
AFCSC is a Joint Service institution established to produce operational-level military officers of the highest professional standard as well as to ensure standardisation of staff duties in the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The Senior Staff Course, in particular, is aimed at preparing selected officers of the rank of major and equivalent in the armed forces for higher responsibilities both in staff and command appointments.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was the Special Guest of Honour at the Graduation Ceremony, restated the Federal Government’s commitment to prioritise the training of Armed Forces personnel, noting that they remained the bastion of national unity.
He also congratulated the graduating students and charged them to apply the knowledge they had acquired to make honest and useful contributions to national development.
Earlier in his remarks, the Commandant AFCSC, Air Vice Marshal Lawal Alao, mentioned that the graduands of Senior Course 40 comprised 182 officers from the Nigerian Armed Forces, relevant Federal Government institutions and eleven sister African countries.
Also present at the ceremony were the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Ministers for Defence, Minister of Interior as well as that of Budget and Planning, Service Chiefs, Inspector General of Police, senior serving and retired military officers and other dignitaries.
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, speaking after the event, stated that he was very delighted with the performance of NAF officers on the course. He added that he was especially pleased.