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“I believed I could achieve it and I did” – Nigeria’s First Female Fighter Jet Pilot Kafayat Sanni



On Tuesday October 15, 2019, Kafayat Sanni made history when she became the first female fighter pilot in the 55-year-old history of the Nigerian Air Force.

She was decorated alongside 12 new fighter pilots at the NAF Headquarters, Abuja.

Kayafat Sanni emerged the overall best pilot at the NAF 401 Flying Training School, Kaduna State, in 2017, and thereafter, she was sent to the United States of America to train at the US Aviation Leadership Programme.

In an interview with Punch, she speaks on her achievements, playing a big role as a female officer and her contribution to counter-insurgency.

Read excerpts from the interview:

On how she felt concerning her achievement in the Nigerian Air Force

It is a privilege for me to be winged as the first female fighter pilot in the Nigerian Air Force. My appreciation first goes to the Almighty God for making this possible for me. It also goes to the Chief of the Air Staff for giving me the opportunity and for making this possible.

On being the first female fighter jet pilot

It was what I wanted to do. And I felt that everyone is not supposed to fold their arms and watch what is happening in our country. Everyone could always play their part. So I did not think there was any reason for me to think that it is not possible for me to actually fly the jet because there was no female that ever flew the jet. I believed I could achieve it and I did.

On contribution to counter-insurgency operations

It will motivate me of course. There are other pilots there in the fronts and they are playing their part. They have been doing their best. So I am also just going to join my male counterparts in the insurgency fight and every other thing that have been going on in our country. So I am just going to get there and play my part.

Advice for younger girls who would like to be in the military

The advice I want to emphasise to them is that they should never say no to opportunities. They should always strive to be the best and put in their efforts. They should never look at anything that seems to want to overpower or overshadow them. For me, you can always attempt things and if they do not work out well; fine. But at every point in time, you just need to put in your best.


  1. Matthias Friday.e.

    October 20, 2019 at 7:52 am

    I really in press in for that action,government need to in equip more people cos Nigeria is getting turning to country of territories, no free movement oppression every where,no security.God bless Nigeria

  2. by_stander

    October 20, 2019 at 10:51 am

    That is a propeller aircraft behind her not a jet, why can’t they do things 100% perfectly especially for women in this country?

    Nonetheless this is really good news.

  3. Abba

    October 20, 2019 at 11:22 am

    we re proud of you
    may Almiggty God keep on protecting you.

  4. Rasheed adesokan

    October 21, 2019 at 5:30 am

    A fighter-pilot! That’s a superb achievement for any human,it becomes gold plated when we even consider your gender, who to most nollywood is the first choice of ‘profession’you truly did allhuman a great honor!kaf haa yaa ain sood

  5. Amadi Israel

    October 22, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    What a great feat!! Congratulations. May God give you all round protection and sustenance.

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