The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao has pledged the support of the Nigerian Airforce for the establishment of a National Research and Development Foundation (NRDF), being canvassed by the Research and Development Standing Committee (RDSC) of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

Air Marshal Amao made the pledge when members of the Defence and Security Subcommittee of RDSC paid him a courtesy visit at the Airforce Headquarters in Abuja recently.

He commended TETFund for its transformation efforts in various public tertiary educational institutions in the country both in infrastructure and funding of Research and Development (R&D).

The Chief of Air Staff also lauded the Fund for its sincerity in the disbursement of R&D funds.

“It is one thing to have an organization that is in charge of R&D; it is another thing for the organization to also look for other institutions that will need those funds for R&D. You are not just sitting in your office and waiting for people to come, but you are also coming to us. We highly appreciate your commitment, and it shows that you are very sincere; that you want to spend the money for what it is meant for,” he said.

Speaking on the importance of research funding particularly in Defence and Security, the Air Chief explained that due to some difficulties sometimes encountered in procuring military platforms and their spares from other countries, the Nigerian Air Force had to look inward to improve on the serviceability of its equipment and see how it could also produce some of its own platforms through R&D.

In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Elias Bogoro, who led the delegation on the visit, expressed his appreciation to the Chief of Air Staff for meeting with the Subcommittee.

He gave a brief insight into the history of TETFund and the Fund’s current drive at promoting the content component of its intervention, particularly Research and Development. The drive, he said, culminated into the inauguration of the RDSC by the Minister of Education in 2020, to lay the foundation for Nigeria’s knowledge economy to be competitive.

The Executive Secretary commended the Nigerian Airforce for its efforts in the fight against insurgency in the country, even while emphasizing the need to deploy the most precise technology.

“Nigerian Airforce has been doing a great job. The fight against insurgency, and if it were anything to protect our territorial integrity, it requires the most precise technology. We cannot fail to recognize this.

“I know that the Nigeria Airforce has demonstrated its capabilities. All of us from TETFund; and on behalf of RDSC and the Defence and Security Subcommittee, we are proud of what all of you are doing for our nation. You have laid your lives for us and history will judge you fairly,” he said.

Also speaking at the meeting, the Coordinator of the Defence and Security Subcommittee of RDSC, AVM Jomo Onyemaechi Osahor (Rtd) stated that the purpose of the visit was to brief him on the role of the Subcommittee and seek “strategic guidance” from him.

He noted that the paradigm shift being promoted by TETFund is “to institutionalize Research and Development in order to project Nigeria into a knowledge-based economy, through need-based, well-articulated and well-funded R&D”.

According to him, “the role of the Defence and Security Subcommittee is to harness the intellectual resources among the academia and the capabilities in our industries in line with the need of the Armed Forces in order to enhance national security”.