The Nigeria’s aviation industry received a major boost in Ilorin, Kwara State during the week when the stakeholders in the industry gathered to witness the flag-off of the helicopter training at the International Aviation College (IAC), Ilorin.
The epoch making ceremony was graced by Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, the representative of the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Goddy Anyakpe, the chairman of the college, Captain Edward Boyo, the state’s commissioner of police, Mr Sam Okaula, members of the state executive and security councils.
The IAC is carrying out the helicopter training in partnership with the Nigerian Navy.
Elated Governor Ahmed was full of praises for his predecessor and incumbent Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki for establishing the college which is now a proud of all Kwarans.
Ahmed who flagged off the training programme said the event reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to promoting the aviation’s growth and development.
“Having pioneered state government- owned aviation training in Nigeria, we stand poised to take the International Aviation College(IAC), Ilorin to the next level in its development,” he said.
He noted with delight that IAC since 2012 when it commenced operation has continued to focus on producing the best pilots and aviation professionals in line with global best practices.
The inclusion of helicopter training in the range of courses offered by the college, the governor noted would no doubt enable it achieve the much desired objective of becoming a one stop aviation training institution which will further showcase Kwara as an aviation hub in the country.
Ahmed added: “It is also imperative to note that the institution’s partnership with various military organisations in the country such as the Nigerian Navy and Airforce testifies to its growing reputation as a centre of excellence in aviation training.
“Indeed, it is on record that IAC, Ilorin trained 25 cadets of the Nigeria Airforce in 2014, while several states and foreign governments have indicated interest in sponsoring students for training here.
“At this juncture, let me salute the vision of my predecessor and current president of the Nigerian Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki for his vision in recognizing a gap in aviation training in Nigeria and establishing this college to occupy that niche. No doubt, the establishment of this college has enhanced Kwara State’s reputation and boosted socio- economic life in the area and the state as a whole. As a government of continuity therefore, we have expanded the IAC’s operational capacity through financial support and provision of additional aircraft.
“Given IAC’s accomplishments, facilities and partnership with elite organisations such as the Nigerian Navy and Airforce, I call on aviation operators in Nigeria to employ more locally trained pilots. Nigeria has the training facilities,structures and personnel to train world class pilots.”
Governor Ahmed recalled that the IAC and the Nigerian Navy had in 2015 signed a memorandum of understanding(MoU) for helicopter training of the latter’s personnel as part of the navy’s repositioning strategy in the area of building capacity for its officers.
“Additionally, today’s flag- off of helicopter training makes IAC the number one destination for comprehensive aviation training in Nigeria and West Africa,” the governor noted.
In an address,the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral I.E. Ibas who was represented by Rear Admiral Goddy Anyakpe, said the event marked a landmark in the partnership for training, entered into between the Navy Holdings Limited and IAC.
He said the development was the manifestation of a whole gamut of long and complex background work by the representatives of both parties, drawn over a period of one year.
Describing the relationship between the government and the people of Kwara state and the Nigerian Navy as cordial and mutually rewarding, Ibas said “the scope of the relationship expanded into training partnership through the establishment of the Navy Medical School at Offa and the success of that venture, I must say, encouraged the current partnership for aviation training.
“This partnership to train aviators is a bold step towards a vision of creating a regional aviation training hub here in Ilorin.”
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