Earlier in the week, the news of the unfortunate death of first female combat pilot, Tolulope Arotile dominated the airwaves, but very few people are aware that the Nigerian Air force still has six female military pilots who have distinguished themselves in a field often seen as the exclusive preserve of their male counterpart.
These elite female groups known as “Women of War” boasts of fighter, helicopter, transport and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft pilots and have contributed a lot in providing intelligence, neutralizing Boko Haram Fighters, bombing ISWAP fuel storage/logistics facilities, destroying terrorists’ gun trucks and taking out a lot of training camps of the insurgents.
To sum up the capabilities of these female personnel who have been tagged the Nigerian Air Force Wowen of War ,is the appellation ‘WAR’ described as ‘Willing, Able and Ready’. Here Are They:
1. Fleet Lieutenant Blessing Liman
On December 9th, 2011, Blessing Liman, the first female military pilot in Nigeria, was commissioned into the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) as a Flying Officer, alongside 126 Direct Short Service Course 20\2011 Cadets of 325 at the Ground Training Group in Kaduna.
This history making officer is an indigene of Zango Kataf, Kaduna state and was born on 13 March 1984. She finished from the Nigerian Aviation Technology in 2011,before joining the Nigerian Air force and have flown over 1070 hours
Fleet Lieutenant Blessing Liman is presently deployed as a Pilot in the Presidential Air Wing.
2.Flying Officer Genevieve Nwaogwugwu,
She enrolled in the Nigeria Air Force Academy on October 8, 2011 and graduated on October 8, 2016 into NAF. After her graduation, she was first posted to 401FTS, Kaduna where she did her ground school for three months, after which she was selected to do her basic training in South Africa, which she completed on December 2017. She works at the 307 Executive Airlift Group and her posting has seen her at Maiduguri and also Katsina.
She was recently the co-pilot in Nigeria's first all-female Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operation .
3.Flying Officer Olubunmi Ijelu
Flying Officer Oluwabunmi Ijelu’s sojourn into the military was basically her father’s idea because he is also in the military. She graduated from the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in 2016. Then on January 14, 2017, she left for South Africa to the Westley Aviation for both our Primary and Basic Training and came back December 2017.
She was winged in January 2018, and then posted to different units. Olubunmi Ijelu flew the Beachcraft with 307 Executive Airlift Group, thereafter she was sent to the Aviation School in Zaria to get her commercial pilot licence. Afterwards, in December 2018 she went to Abu Dhabi, UAE for type-rating on the aircraft and since then she has been flying.
Flying Officers Oluwabunmi Ijelu, recently became the first female military officer to become a captain on an aircraft when she led the first Nigerian all-female Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operation in May 2020.
Nigeria's historic first all-female crew IRS Mission
4.Flying Officer Kafayat Sanni
Flying Officer Kafayat Sanni is the first female fighter jet pilot in sub-Saharan Africa and also in the 55 years of existence of NAF.
She was an Air Force Cadet while in the defence academy, and being in the air force she became the best in flying during the graduation, which prompted the Chief of the Air Staff to send her for a specialised 18 months undergraduate fighter pilot training , under the aviation industry programme in the United States Air Force.
5.Winged female helicopter pilot Chinelo Nwokoye.
Nwokoye became the second helicopter combat pilot in NAF’s history after Tolulope Arotile and the first female fighter pilot, Flying Officer Kafayat Sani .Nwokoye who became the latest addition to the ranks of female pilots in Nigeria in May 2020 was trained in Nigeria and United States.
6.Flight Lieutenant Chika Ani
She is also an integral part of the women of war.
There are also six other female military student pilots presently undergoing training both within and outside the country apart from other female officers and airwomen who are excelling in their various fields of specialisation including Regiment and Special Forces, Aircraft/Armament Engineers and Technicians as well as Air Traffic Controllers, amongst others.
Content created and supplied by: Olufemi211 (via Opera News )