By Lazarus Zakaa, Abuja.
The Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has commended the untiring efforts of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) under the leadership of the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for utilizing the media space to enlighten citizens and other stakeholders about the tremendous contributions of the NAF to both internal security and off-shore Air Power projections in support of Nigeria’s national interests.
The Honourable Minister also applauded the NAF Investments Limited (NAFIL) and Papel Image Tech for the conceptualization and making of the movie “Eagle Wings” with a great storyline that reflects the reality in the NAF and the undying determination to succeed in the defence of Nigeria and Nigerians.
The Honourable Minister made the commendations yesterday, 19 January 2021, at the glamorous Private Premiere of the epic motion picture “Eagle Wings”, which took place at the NAF Officers’ Mess and Suites, Kado, Abuja.
Speaking further at the colourful ceremony, which attracted some Government functionaries as well as the crème de la crème of the Nigerian film industry, Alhaji Lai Mohammed noted that the movie vividly portrays how the NAF optimally leverages air capabilities and humanitarian efforts, with the available resources and manpower, to win the hearts and minds in the overall national strategic approach to attaining victory in the war against terrorism and insurgency.
He described the movie as the best film he has ever watched.
“I am highly impressed with the quality of production and the professional way in which the actors played their roles.
I must say, that ‘Eagle Wings’ has undoubtedly set a new standard for Nollywood, and would also project the image of the NAF far beyond the shores of our great Nation, further boosting Nigeria’s international prestige”, he said.
While congratulating the NAF and other stakeholders for the giant stride and for being part of history to witness the unveiling of the first Motion Picture of its kind in West Africa as a whole and Nigeria in particular, the Honourable Minister stated that the NAF’s positive engagement of media to promote public enlightenment has received national, continental and global accolades over the years and especially in past 2 years.
He said, with the movie and other significant landmark achievements, the unrelenting drive to reposition the Service as a leading Air Force on the continent was already yielding results.
Alhaji Mohammed urged all Nigerians to continue to imbibe the requisite values and keenly exploit every medium that would help to foster unity in the Country.
He also enjoined Nigerians to embrace the culture of supporting the Armed Forces in fighting criminality in the Country and appreciate the sacrifices made by members of the Armed Forces.
According to him, “I therefore enjoin us all to make use of this movie as a tool for creating awareness in the public about the critical roles of the Armed Forces in national security and nation building”.
In his opening remarks, the CAS, stated that the idea of producing the “Eagle Wings” motion picture was given consideration to avail the Nigerian public, in particular, and indeed, the world, as a whole, with a fresh perspective to better appreciate the immeasurable sacrifices of officers, airmen/airwomen and their families, towards bringing peace and security to the Country.
The motion picture, the CAS noted, employs world-class cinematography to present a moving story which captures the crucial roles and efforts of the NAF in the ongoing counter insurgency operations in the North East.
Air Marshal Abubakar disclosed that it has always been his desire to see the Service break new frontiers that would not only place the Service on the pedestal of landmark achievements but also set the pace for others to emulate the NAF’s collective efforts at securing the Nation.
Air Marshal Abubakar emphasized that the Premiere event offered the opportunity to celebrate one of such achievements aimed at projecting the operational capacity of the NAF, both kinetic and otherwise, as well as the gains in the in the ongoing fight against insurgency.
The movie, he said, highlights the efficacy of the NAF’s efforts beyond bombs and bullets, to win the hearts and minds of people in troubled areas.
The CAS commended the collaboration of NAFIL and Messrs Papel Image Tech, as well as the tireless efforts of the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information and the NAF Advisory Committee to bring the amazing story to the big screen.
The CAS therefore encouraged NAFIL and Messrs Papel Image Tech to ensure sustainability of the commendable effot by producing more movies that depict other aspects of contributions of the NAF, and indeed the Armed Forces of Nigeria as a whole, to national security.
This, he said, would go a long way to educate the Nigerian public and enlighten the global community, while chronicling the success stories of NAF gallant troops, in order to forestall gaps in history.
The CAS noted further that the continued collaboration would further raise the unprecedented standards of professionalism demonstrated in the making of the movie, “Eagle Wings”, which would greatly benefit the Nigerian Movie Industry.
“Be rest assured that Headquarters NAF will continue to give all necessary support to NAFIL to achieve the desired objectives in its numerous lofty projects”, he said.
The CAS expressed the heartfelt gratitude of officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his unwavering and relentless support to the Service.
He also appreciated members of the National Assembly, especially the Senate and House Committees on Air Force, for their unwavering commitment to equip the Service with the wherewithal to fulfil its constitutional roles.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman NAFIL Board of Directors, Air Vice Marshal Clement Ogbeche, noted that the actualization of the movie “Eagle Wings” Project bears eloquent testimony to the faith that the current leadership of the NAF has in the ability of fellow countrymen to achieve great heights if the enabling environment is provided.
Speaking further, AVM Ogbeche stated that the Project also espoused the zeal to build local capacity across several core competencies in the NAF.
He said the drive for robust human capacity development by the current NAF leadership has brought about the enactment of numerous Memoranda of Understanding for strategic partnerships with notable higher educational institutions and key stakeholders across relevant fields.
According to him, the NAF is generating and consolidating unprecedented capabilities in such areas as Combat and Combat Support Operations, Aeronautics, Surveillance and Geospatial Technologies, amongst others.
Highlight of the event was the presentation, unveiling and actual screening of the “Eagle Wings” Motion Picture, which was coordinated by the Managing Director NAFIL, AVM Uchechi Nwagwu, and heralded by rave reviews from all those present.
There was also presentation of commemorative plaques to the Guest of Honour and the CAS as well as former Chiefs of Defence and Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin and AVM Femi John Femi (retired), who had characters in the movie named after them.
Other dignitaries that graced the unveiling of the epic movie were the Minister of Special Duties, Senator George Akume, Representatives of Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs, Branch Chiefs from the Defence and NAF Headquarters, Air Officers Commanding, National President, Nigerian Air Force Officers’ Wives Association, Hajiya Hafsat Abubakar, film industry key stakeholders as well as cast and crew of the motion picture and retired senior officers, amongst others.