After 23 weeks of training, the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, on Friday graduated 172 middle level officers.
The 172 officers attended Junior Course 86, at the college in Jaji, Kaduna State.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar in his speech at the graduation, charged the officers to operate within the context of the rule of law and respect the rights and dignity of all Nigerians.
The air chief reminded the officers that “as professional officers you must also operate within the ambits of the law.
“You must uphold the highest standards of conduct vis-à-vis character, integrity, excellence, service and teamwork.”
Abubakar added that as the country prepares for election in 2019, the Armed Forces would be expected to play its constitutional role in aid of civil authority with utmost fairness, non partisanship, loyalty and patriotism.
He added: “As from today you have become professionally qualified tactical level operations staff officers and junior commanders of the Armed Forces and their equivalents, and as middle level officers in other security agencies and organizations.
“I would like you to know that the appellation ‘Passed Junior Staff Course’ anywhere in the world confers much responsibility on you in terms of the desired quality and output of your field and staff work.
“This is so because a lot of expectation will now be placed on you by your superiors as you return to your respective military units, organisations or countries as the case may be.
“Consequently, you must live up to expectation and guard jealously the high reputation and standard of training associated with the AFCSC.”
He noted that the College was set up to develop the professional knowledge and understanding of selected officers of the Armed Forces in order to prepare them for increasing responsibilities both in staff and command appointments.
“It therefore follows that it is not every officer within your category that would have the opportunity of being nominated for this course. You are therefore privileged to have been nominated for this course by your respective Services, organizations and countries.
“For the past 23 weeks, you have been thoroughly subjected to various demanding tasks that exposed you to several presentations, lectures, discussions, exercises and even tours outside the College.
“I am sure you have learnt Time Management, Punctuality, Team Spirit, Staff Skills, Esprit-de-Corps and Self Confidence in the process. You must have also acquired the discipline that would enable you to endure the stress and strains that are likely to confront you in your careers.
“These qualities I believe must have assisted you a great deal to survive the onslaught of the ‘Red Forces’ and the pressures associated with ‘Red Ink Correction’ exercises.
“I believe you know what I mean. Today, you have come to understand even more than what you thought was probably impossible. I believe, like it is commonly said in the College; ‘you are now better informed’.”
He disclosed that the Junior Course Curriculum is structured to lay a solid foundation for the Senior Course and is continually reviewed to keep in tune with current developments in the world.
” You must also have noticed that in contemporary times, conflicts all over the world are largely intra-state resulting in complex emergencies often requiring collaboration of several stakeholders.
” In this regard, you are fortunate to benefit from such packages as the estimate process, the manoeuverist approach to warfare, peace support operations, counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency and disaster management amongst others.
“Most importantly, your course is fortunate to be the third to benefit from the reviewed Curriculum of the College which introduced modern concepts in Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency operations.
“The security threats have become increasingly unconventional and asymmetric in nature. These threats include terrorism, armed banditry, unprovoked attacks on unarmed civilians and kidnap for ransom amongst others.”
Abubakar said the emerging threats necessitate shift in training focus from purely conventional military training to incorporate counterterrorism and counter insurgency as well as non-kinetic training.
“The training in the College is thus, geared towards projecting hard and soft power in multifaceted operational setting involving both military and non-military lines of operations.
“Bearing this in mind, I am also aware that the curriculum is designed to consolidate your knowledge and skills of joint operations planning and execution at tactical level.
“All of these are intended to prepare you to effectively discharge your roles as Grade 3 staff officers in your respective Services and organizations. ” he said.
He therefore charged them to apply their new skills when deployed to conflict situations.
Earlier, the Commandant, AFCSC, AVM Lawal Alao, disclosed that out of the 172 officers, 88 were from Army, 40 from Navy, 27 Air Force, eight para-military and nine international students – two from Gambia , and one each from Benin Republic, Chad, Gabon, Ghana, Niger, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.