‘AFIT Bill will address technological challenges in Nigeria’ – Daily Trust

Daily Trust: The AFIT Bill has just been passed by the National Assembly; can you share your experience on the journey to the passage of…

Daily Trust: The AFIT Bill has just been passed by the National Assembly; can you share your experience on the journey to the passage of the bill?
Air Commodore Musibahu Soladoye: The quest to have an establishment act for AFIT dates back to 2008. Several efforts were made before its final passage. I feel highly fulfilled that this happened during the time I was commandant of the institution. I’ve been a part of the institution for a very long time, so I’ve also been a part of the process of building the institution. The major challenge of the institution has always been the absence of an enabling act. Now that it has come, I think the institute will move forward very fast.
DT: What does the country stand to benefit from the institute?
Soladoye: I will start by reminding you of the objective of transforming the old school into an institute of technology. Basically, it was transformed to form the nucleus of a world class centre for learning and research in Nigeria. It was also to build a high-level localized maintenance capability for aviation, aerospace and similar researches in the NAF, and other related organizations and friendly countries.
The absence of the bill has been a major hindrance in our effort to interact with both national and international organizations. Now that the bill is passed, the institution can open its programmes to national and international organization. The United Nation Development Programme is there to support the institution with programmes aimed at enhancing research and development. The institution will take more active part in research now, particularly to address technological challenges in our country.
DT: How would that impact on NAF personnel?
Soladoye: The main trust to achieving the objectives set by the federal government for the NAF is capacity development of its personnel. With a more enabling environment for the institution, capacity development of the Service will be enhanced. And apart from that, our personnel who are technology savvy can be brought back to the institution after retirement to share their wealth of experience with the students, with a view to enhancing their capacity.
DT: Can you highlight some major achievements and challenges you faced as Commandant?
Soladoye: I will just mention a few of the achievements. Before I left, the institution had serviceable air craft for training which is used by student pilots to perfect their flying skills.
The curriculum was reviewed and more technical courses were added, including the Officers Course and the Air Craft Orientation Maintenance Course. Another achievement is the accreditation of the post graduate diploma in air craft engineering by the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigerian (COREN).
The institute has also engaged in various Research and Development (R&D) projects; a couple of them were ongoing before my exit. The first is the re-design of the improved version of our unmanned ground vehicle, which is used for the detection and disposal of improvised explosive devices and the construction of the unmanned aerial vehicle which we are modifying. Others are the design and construction of stone gun which is used in crowd dispersal, design and construction of bullet proof vest amongst others. When I was Commandant, I was able to provide a patent office and obtained patent right from the national office of technological acquisition in Nigeria and today, the institute has patent right over its R&D efforts.
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