Blessing Liman, a 25-year-old lady from Kaduna State, has become Nigeria’s first female military pilot. The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) at the weekend commissioned her along with 126 others who completed the Direct Short Service Course 2010/11 Cadets of 325 Ground Training Group at the NAF Base, Kaduna.
Miss Liman said she was very excited and proud to make history. She said: “It is very uplifting and I feel very proud of myself though it has been very challenging. Coming from the civil war and the civil mentality, the Air Force has done a great job because it has changed our orientation.
“I believe that all females have equal opportunity to dignify their rights in whatever adventure they choose they can do.”
Liman, who wants to encourage other females, called on other womenfolk to see her feat as a challenge for them to explore their capabilities “for nation-building”.
Speaking at the occasion, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar, said the successful passing out from cadet training of the first female pilot was “a very laudable achievement” to the nation.
The armed forces were directed to produce female combatants, he said, in order to give impetus to gender equality in the polity as part of President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda - as well as affirm the belief that women can make valuable contributions to nation building.
Umar said by producing the first female military pilot, NAF had given a good account of itself and justified the vision of its founding fathers as a veritable tool for nation-building.
He noted that although the federal government had taken steps to address the internal security situation across Nigeria, there was the need for the armed forces to be abreast of the general security situation in the country.
“Your primary responsibility is ensuring national security and the territorial integrity of our dear nation; hence I need to remind you where your loyalty lies,” he said, charging members of the armed forces to cultivate harmonious relationships with the populace without compromising military values.