The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Tuesday, 15th October 2019 decorated two female pilots (first female fighter pilot and first female helicopter pilot) and the first Air Warrant Officer in Abuja.
The first female fighter (combatant) pilot winged is Flying Officer Kafayat Sanni and the first female helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile.
Their decoration followed the successful completion of their pilot training courses in the United States of America and South Africa, respectively.
Also, the first female Air Warrant Officer, Grace Garba was decorated with her new rank.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said the 13 pilots qualified for the award of the NAF prestigious Wing.
“Today indeed marks another milestone in the history of the NAF and I am gratified to be part of it.
“I am particularly happy because out of the 13 pilots to be winged are two female Regular Combatant officers.
“They are not only female officers but outstanding aviators.
“While one of the two pilots is the first female fighter pilot in the 55 years history of the NAF, the second one is the first female combat helicopter pilot.
“The first female fighter pilot trained at the United States Air Force following an excellent performance during her initial flying training course at 401 Flying Training School in Kaduna.
The NAF Chief noted that the second officer graduated from Starlite International Training Academy, where they performed excellently.
“Our records indicate that as of today, we have trained a total of 67 Instructor pilots since 2015.
“Furthermore, with the winging of these pilots today, the NAF would have winged a total of 101 pilots within the same period.
Air Marshall Sadqie stressed that currently, the NAF has 61 pilots undergoing basic flying training, while 50 are undergoing various forms of advanced flying training courses both locally and abroad.
He disclosed that he is confident that the NAF and indeed Nigeria will soon be reaping the benefits that these pilots would undoubtedly add to its operations.’’
On her part, Dame Pauline Tallen, minister of Women Affairs, who graced the occasion, expressed happiness to be part of the event. Tallen congratulated the female pilots, and the Air Warrant Officer for the feat, saying that history had been made.