NAF made this known in a statement by its Director of Public Relations and Information, Ibikunle Daramola.
The statement noted that “the mission, which was conducted on 28 May 2020 using the NAF Beechcraft KingAir ISR aircraft, had Flying Officers Oluwabunmi Ijelu and Genevieve Nwaogwugwu as Captain and Co-Pilot, respectively, with Sergeant Njoku Patience as the Airborne Tactical Observation System mission operator and Lance Corporal Shawulu Godiya as the on-board technician. It is noteworthy that Flying Officer Ijelu is the first female officer to become a Captain on a NAF aircraft.
“The aircraft was also marshaled by a female Marshaller, Aircraftwoman David Precious. The mission, which was preceded by the customary pre-flight briefing, originated from the 307 Executive Airlift Group (307 EAG), at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport and covered selected areas of interest in Niger State and its environs, where the intelligence that would support NAF air interdiction missions, as well as the operations of ground forces, was gathered.”
The Commander 307 EAG, Air Commodore Francis Edosa, was quoted as commending the all-female crew for displaying “a high level of professionalism”.
The statement added that within the past four and a half years, there has been a surge in the involvement of female personnel in areas that were previously the preserve of men. It added,
“Five female pilots have been winged within the period, bringing the total number of female pilots in the NAF to seven.
Many other female officers and airwomen are excelling in their various fields of specialization including Regiment and Special Forces, Aircraft/Armament Engineers and Technicians as well as Air Traffic Controllers, amongst others.
The NAF’s objective in this regard is to maximise all of the potentials of Nigeria’s vast human resource pool, male and female, to ensure the effective, efficient, and timely employment of Air Power in response to Nigeria’s national security imperatives.”