By Air Commodore, Ibikunle Daramola, Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force
The Nigerian Air Force Officers’ Wives Association (NAFOWA) has empowered yet another batch of youths and widows of deceased personnel through its Skills Acquisition and Vocational Training Programme. The closing and graduation ceremony of the 9th edition of the Programme, which took place yesterday, 18 October 2018, at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base Kainji, witnessed the presentation of certificates and provision of starter packs to 100 beneficiaries who completed the 10-week training.
Speaking during the event, the Guest of Honour, Barrister Muhammed Sani Haliru Dantoro, Kitoro IV, Emir of Borgu Kingdom, commended NAFOWA for not just putting food on the tables of the beneficiaries but also giving them the opportunity to contribute their quota to the development of the nation.
He urged the graduands to make good use of the training and starter packs to better the lots of their families. He also thanked the NAF for its invaluable contributions to the fight against insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country.
In his remarks, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar, who was represented by Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Oladayo Amao, the Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command, said skills acquisition and vocational training are means to financial independence, self reliance, prosperity and personal development.
He stated that the empowerment of the youths and widows would make the home stable and enhance the commitment of personnel to the discharge of their duties. He said the graduating students were now better positioned to start their own businesses and could, hopefully, become job creators.
Air Marshal Sadique therefore commended NAFOWA for the successful completion of the laudable programme, which, he said, was also in tandem with the Federal Government’s efforts at reducing unemployment among the country’s teeming youths.
Earlier in her welcome address, the National President of NAFOWA, Hajiya Hafsat Sadique Abubakar revealed that, in the past 2 years, the Association had trained and successfully empowered 2,000 youths and widows in different chosen skills.
In her words, “We do not believe in giving fish but mostly in teaching how to catch the fish”. She disclosed that the beneficiaries had acquired skills in ten different vocational trades which included tailoring, hairdressing and barbing, bead-making, computer education, catering, soap and disinfectant production, interior decoration, leather shoes and bags production as well as aluminum doors and windows fabrication.
The NAFOWA National President therefore urged the beneficiaries to put the vocation-specific starter packs given to them to good use in their entrepreneurial endeavours.
Hajiya Hafsat Abubakar further disclosed that the initiative to transform lives through skills acquisition programme started at the NAF Base Makurdi between May and August 2016 and was aimed at providing succor to youths and women who had lost their bread winners to the ongoing fight against insurgency in the North East.
She said this genuine concern for the welfare of inhabitants of the Base community led to the replication of the programme at NAF Bases and among host communities in Maiduguri, Kaduna, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Bauchi, Benin, Azare and Kainji. She therefore thanked the Association’s technical partner, White Empress Consult, for providing the requisite training that had bridged the unemployment and underemployment gap amongst women and youths by providing meaningful alternatives as a means of livelihood.
The closing ceremony was well attended by senior military and para-military officers, including the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command, AVM Mohammed Idris. The NAFOWA National President, along with some of her members, had earlier paid a courtesy call on the Emir of Borgu at his Palace.