From Molly Kilete, Abuja

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Oladayo Amao has charged commanders of the Air Force to remain apolitical and avoid actions and comments that could tarnish the image of the Service.

He has also charged field commanders in various theatres of operation across the country to sustain the tempo of the onslaught against terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and other criminal groups terrorizing the peace of the country.

He said the warning has become necessary as the NAF, would be engaged in the airlift of election materials across the country.

Amao gave the charge at a meeting he held with Air Officers Commanding (AOCs), Commandants and units Commanders in Abuja.

The NAF Chief while noting that the Service has concluded arrangements to commence a realistic pre-induction training for personnel that would be deployed for election support duties, urged the Commanders to sensitise personnel under them on the Code of Conduct for Armed Forces of Nigeria during elections, while also reminding them to be apolitical, particularly now that the elections are close.

Amao charged commanders to work with other security agencies within the areas of responsibility towards organising joint inter-agency training in order to enhance the capacity of law-enforcement agencies in discharging their respective roles to ensure the peaceful conduct of the elections.

While commending the efforts of commanders and personnel at various theatres of operations across the country, the CAS noted that the remarkable successes recorded so far against insurgency and terrorism are a result of hard work, dedication and sacrifices.

Speaking further, the CAS disclosed that the NAF, in 2021 and 2022 alone, trained a total of 9,148 personnel locally and 786 personnel overseas cutting across all aircrew and ground specialities. According to him, currently, a total of 122 personnel are undergoing foreign training while 1,057 are on local training and more would be processed for training in the course of the year.

The CAS went further to state that NAF has developed a workable skill retention strategy to sustain excellence and quality by re-engaging selected highly skilled retired personnel in the scarce skills categories as instructors and mentors to pass on expertise and best practices to the junior ones.

Air Marshal Amao commended the unwavering support of the Federal Government to the NAF, noting that the Service has acquired new and modern platforms and expects delivery of more within the year to boost its equipment holding. This, he noted will go a long way in boosting NAF air power capabilities.

He thanked the AOCs and Commanders for their commitment to the NAF so far and spurred them not to rest in their oars towards fulfilling their obligation to the nation. He however tasked them to resuscitate regimentation and military traditions in their respective military formations and ensure discipline among the personnel as it remains the hallmark of the military profession.

The highlight of the meeting was the brief by AOCs, Commandants and Commanders. The CAS’ meeting with the top echelon of the NAF is strategically important to its operational effectiveness and efficiency as well as service delivery.