The new Commandant of the Airforce Institute of Technology (AFIT), Kaduna, Air Vice- Marshall Paul Olugbeji Jemitola last Wednesday hinted the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL, that plan was underway for the design and build of a very simple aircraft called the AFIT Light Trainer Aircraft (ALTA) with functional requirements premised on low purchase and operating costs as well as simplified logistics support architecture and integrated vehicle health monitoring.
He gave this indication when he led his management team to the NUC on a familiarization visit following his recent appointment as the new Commandant of the Institute.
Air Vice-Marshall Jemitola who thanked the Executive Secretary for graciously receiving them on such short notice, said AFIT has been stimulating a lot of research in the area being the first of its kind.
He explained that in the process of building the aircraft by the Institute everyone would be involved. The Project would stimulate and create different areas to study.
The new Commandant cited that the economists for instance will look at the economic survival limits, logistic and supply chain management at the logistics on what would be required to supply, produce and maintain all the components needed. The International Relations experts would focus on the geopolitical implications of Nigeria becoming an aircraft manufacturing country.
He recalled that the Aerospace Engineering Department in AFIT until December 2017 was awarding the Higher National Diploma (HND) or Ordinary National Development (OND) before it metamorphosed into a full-fledged degree awarding institution due to the intervention of NUC and Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN).
He expressed the hope that the Institute would start postgraduate programmes that will enable more research in the field of aerospace engineering.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary congratulated the new commandant and assured him of the Commission’s unwavering support to the Institute whenever the need arises. He informed them that there has been a recent approval to establish a new university of Aviation by the Federal government which would go a long way in developing the workforce needed to make a vibrant aviation sector.
He encouraged the team to work assiduously in the construction of the Institute’s aircraft and make it a reality. The project will solve a lot of the problems bedevilling the aviation sector issues. Such would include non-befitting training ground for our young pilots and insufficient local capability to effect the different categories of industry-specified aircraft maintenance schedule which will in turn make the aviation industry in the country vibrant.
Professor Rasheed commended the stable academic calendar AFIT has maintained and congratulated the institute on its impressive performance during the last accreditation exercise. He opined that serious students would be pleased to enroll at AFIT since the leadership always strive hard to produce the best learning environment for its end users.
He encouraged the commandant to be steadfast in his new vision for the Institute to transform AFIT into a global centre of multi-disciplinary academic and research excellence, whilst functioning as the prime technical manpower development resource of the Nigerian Air Force.
The Executive Secretary maintained that the Institute Provost would be an excellent resource person in the future, due to his dedication to the Institute, when the country launches its adventurous journey into aircraft manufacturing and maintenance. He could give leadership for civilian or military personnel on the issues which should be part of the greatest achievement of the technological services provided by the Nigerian military.
Other members of his team included: Provost of the Institute, Professor Mahmoud Dauda; the Registrar, Air Commander E.O Olokun; Deputy Public Relations Officer, Group Captain I. A Buka; and Director, Quality Assurance, Dr. Yahuza Ibrahim.
At the meeting were the NUC Directors of: the Executive Secretary’s Office (DESO), Mr. John Ahmadu Mairafi; Human Resources (DHR), Mr. Boniface Odum and the Acting Director of Public Affairs (DPA), Alh. Haruna Lawal Ajo.