By Yahaya Isah
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) on research, development and maintenance of aircraft.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who signed the MoU said it had always been his desire to partner with the nation’s higher institutions of learning for research.
Abubakar said: “We have highly talented Nigerians, especially in the nation’s higher institutions who could add value to the development of the society.
He said that the signing of the MoU would open a new frontier in the relationship that already existed between the two parties.
He recalled that in 2013, NAF signed 15 MoUs with the nation’s higher institutions of learning in the area of research/development and maintenance of its aircraft.
“So, signing of the MoU with UNIMAID brought the number to 16 higher institutions in the country NAF had signed an MoU with.
“So, I felt I should bring UNIMAID on board, especially in the area of maintenance of aircraft in the fight against insurgents,” he said.
The CAS said further that NAF could not continue to rely on foreigners for the maintenance of its aircraft, hence the reason for the signing of the MoU with the nation’s higher institutions.
“We are building capacity in so many areas, hence the partnership with the academia for the maintenance of our aircraft rather than going abroad.
“A team is already in place to look at some of the difficulties we are encountering in the maintenance of our aircraft,” Abubakar said.
The Chief of Standards and Evaluation, NAF Headquarters, AVM Kingsley Lar, said the CAS was committed to encouraging local capacity through innovations for self-reliance.
Lar recalled that UNIMAID in collaboration with other resource persons had helped in addressing the problem of Alpha-jet anti-skid brake system and built a test bench to that effect.
He said, “this is one of the many research projects NAF has engaged the UNIMAID to embark on.
“Research and development and innovative thinking is imperative if we are to realise our objectives of moving the service forward as well as the nation toward technological advancement.
“At this critical moment in our nation’s history, we need to synergise our research efforts in order to achieve meaningful technological breakthroughs,” Lar said.
The Vice Chancellor, UNIMAID, Prof. Ibrahim Abubakar, expressed delight at the signing of the MoU with NAF, saying it was a good happening to the institution.
Abubakar said without the effort of NAF, UNIMAID would have closed down because of the activities of insurgents in the area.
He promised to assist NAF in the area of research, development and maintenance of its aircraft to enable it to carry out its professional responsibilities of protecting the nation’s territorial integrity.
The vice chancellor said the signing of the MoU would also open a new frontier for the institution by enabling it to establish an Aeronautical engineering department.
He commended CAS for the humanitarian work the service had embarked upon in the country, especially in the North-East. (NAN)