Just like many other industries, aviation has had its fair share of female pioneers as well. From Amelia Earhart to Raymonde de Laroche, there are many great examples of this. Succeeding in a field that is largely dominated by men, these brave women are absolutely worth learning about. In this blog post we are going to learn about Kafayat Sanni, the first Nigerian female fighter jet pilot. Although Nigeria had female commercial pilots before, with the first one being Chinyere Kalu, until 2019, there weren’t any Nigerian female fighter jet pilots. However, Sanni has become the first and has likely paved the way for the future generations of women in her country to enter this field. Now, let’s take a quick look at her life story and see what her story can teach us.
Early Life and Education of Kafayat Sanni
Kafayat Sanni was born in 1997 in Nigeria. While there is not much information on her early life, due to her achievement of becoming the first female fighter of Nigeria, we can say that she must have had a very good education.
Also, we can say that aviation must have been an early passion for her, considering that she started her training in this area very early on in her life. On the 22nd of December 2012, Kafayat Sanni enlisted in the Nigerian Air Force in order to become a pilot.
Then Sanni has started her aviation training at 401 Aviation School, which is in Kaduna, Nigeria. Some time after starting training, her skills started to develop. As she started to get a grasp on the skills necessary to operate an aircraft, she became the first student to rise solo among her peers in the aviation school.
Nearly five years after joining the Air Force, she graduated from her school on the 16th of September 2017. Since she was the best in her class, she was selected to continue her pilot’s training in the United States. After her training which has lasted for 18 months, she also received additional education on English in Texas and received advanced vocational training in Colombus.
Following her training and education in the United States, Kafayat Sanni returned to Nigeria and now she was ready to become a fighter pilot. Along with this training Sanni has also trained for 14 months in South Africa on operating a combat helicopter as well.
Becoming the First Female Fighter Jet Pilot of Nigeria
After returning to Nigeria, she became the first Nigerian female fighter jet pilot on the 15th of October 2019. Also she was given the “Wings” Award by the Nigerian Air Force on the same day at the ceremony that was held in the NAF Headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria.
As for now, the future plans of Sanni include joining the insurgency fight and all the other conflicts that are going on in her country and playing her part in them.
In an interview she stated that regardless of whether you succeed or not, it is important to do your best in any circumstance. And this is exactly the kind of thing that we can learn from this brave female aviator.
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Africa Prime Editor (n.d.), Nigeria’s first female fighter jet pilot, Retrieved 4 March 2022
Wawa Editor (2021), Kafayat Sanni Biography: Meet Nigeria’s first female fighter jet pilot, Retrieved 4 March 2022