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Meet Blessing Liman, Nigeria’s First Female Military Pilot

In June 2010, Shamsudeen Usman, then the Nigerian Minister for National Planning dropped a bombshell during a presentation: Northern Nigeria has the highest level of illiteracy on earth. Although I wouldn’t know how the World Bank came about its figures which the minister quoted, I will be deceiving myself to say that all is well with education in the north.

That explains why it calls for celebration when a young lady from the same northern region becomes the first female combatant pilot not only in Nigeria, but in the entire West African subregion. I present to you the amazing story of Nigeria’s winged eagle, BLESSING LIMAN.

Intelligent, witty and yeah, beautiful, Blessing Liman is the first female military pilot of the Nigerian Air Force. In other words, while some Banana Island girls will be shakaraing the entire neighborhood with their Infiniti FX 37, Blessing plays with jet fighters and bombers. Can you beat that? Try again. MORE PICTURES AFTER THE CUT ?

BIRTH, EARLY DAYS & SCHOOLING

At NCAT.

Born 29 years ago (13th March, 1984), Blessing Liman hails from Kaduna State (kai! Those KD gals! Lol!) and is an indigene of Zangon Kataf Local Government Area. She later attended the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, Kaduna State. She was of the SP-24A set of pilots and they were referred to as the Knights of the Air. Cool nickname, I’d say!

BECOMING NAF’S FIRST FEMALE COMBATANT PILOT

Blessing Liman makes me proud.

She was commissioned as a Combat Flying Officer alongside 126 others who finished the Direct Short Service Course 2010/2011 Cadets of the 325 Ground Training Group at the Nigerian Air Force Base, Kaduna. Present at the winging ceremony (badge decoration) was the then Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Mohammad Dikko Umar who described her training as a ‘very laudable achievement’. I very much agree with the former CAS.

She was quite excited and proud to have made history and 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.”

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‘As a first female pilot I would want to make a mark that would encourage other females to join the military because I believe that all females have equal opportunity to exercise their rights in whatever they choose to do, I believe that all female Nigerians who choose to become pilots can do it since I have done it.

With her colleagues at NCAT.

This is a remarkable achievement, one that should drive our ladies to know and see themselves as been able to achieve the impossible and break the so called glass ceiling in any sphere you find yourself.

Blessing as a trainee pilot, third, standing from the right.

Before her winging on Friday, 27th of April, 2012, she and other pilot officers (she was the only female) went for 12 months intensive flight training in various nations of the world – United States, Greece, Belarus, United Kingdom, Pakistan and Egypt. The Federal Government spent billions of naira on the training as $650,000 was spent on each trainee. The team came up with 14, well-trained fighter jet pilots. She enlisted into the Nigerian Air Force in July 2011 and was commissioned on the 9th of December, 2011. After her commissioning, she was nominated for the 2012 THISDAY Award for Excellence.

HER WORDS

She was quite excited and proud to have made history and 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.”

“I am going to work, with prayers, dedication and hard work, I know I will succeed.”

‘As a first female pilot I would want to make a mark that would encourage other females to join the military because I believe that all females have equal opportunity to exercise their rights in whatever they choose to do, I believe that all female Nigerians who choose to become pilots can do it since I have done it.’

Blessing keeping it real in Jersey, USA.

Blessing takes to the sky.

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