The National Defence College, Abuja, yesterday graduated 128 participants from its Course 19.
According to reports, 13 of the participants came from 13 African countries for the course, which began on September 17, 2010.
The countries are Niger, Republic of Gabon, Republic of Benin, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Cameroon, Congo, Republic of Lesotho, Burkina Faso, Namibia, Mali and Ghana.
The participants were made up of 36 Officers of the Nigerian Army, 36 from the Nigerian Navy, 36 Air Force Officers and two Officers from the Nigeria Police Force.
Others are five civilians from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and 13 foreign participants.
Some of the participants said it had been one year of “serious study” and expressed joy that it has come to an end.
The overall best graduating student of the course, Col. Johnson Olawumi of the Nigerian Army, said the course was aimed at preparing officers for strategic leadership positions and future challenges.
Olawumi also said the course had adequately prepared the participants to meet the current security challenges in the country and advised future participants to prepare themselves very well in order to make the required grades.
Group Captain, Sambo Usman, of the Nigeria Air Force said the course was very inspiring and rich.
“It exposed participants to the variables of national security. It is a course every military man should attend,” he said.
Usman said Nigeria has great potentials and that all that was needed was for every Nigerian to tap into it. “If we do this, we can achieve Vision 20:2020,” he said.
Usman added: “What is expected of me now is to put all I have learnt into practice and ensure that the country progresses as it cannot afford to be left behind in a world that is now a global village”.
A participant from Sierra Leone, Col. John Milton, said the course had been very educative and demanding. “As foreign participants, we are going back to our various countries with memories of the college and Nigeria; we will fly the flag of the college very high in our countries,” he said.
The Distinguished Star Alumnus of the College was conferred on the National Security Adviser, Gen. Owoye Azazi and the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin.
Similarly, the Distinguished Alumnus Award of the Defence College was conferred on the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika and Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mohammed Umar.
Others are Lt.Gen. E.D. Ndaitwah, Chief of Defence Forces of Nigerien; Maj.Gen. J.M. Oweyisighire, Chief of Air Staff, Ugandan Air Forces; Maj.-Gen. R.Y. Koroma, Chief of Defence Staff, Sierra Leonean Armed Forces and Brig.-Gen. M.A. Diallo, Chief of Army Staff, Malian Army.
Brigadier.-General T.V. Muhapi of the Lesotho Armed Forces; Col. M. Baraze, Chief of Army Staff, Nigerien Army, and Col. F. Mobebou, Chief of Defence Staff, Armed Forces of the Central African Republic were also given awards.