As the preparations for the forthcoming general elections hot up, the Chief Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, has charged personnel of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to stay away from partisan politics and discharge their duties according to the rules of engagement.
The Air Chief urged the personnel to maintain a high level of discipline and as well to sustain regimentation as anything short of these would attract severe sanctions.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja by the Director of Public Relations and Information of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet.
According to the statement, the CAS gave the warning during a retreat with Air Warrant Officers (AWOs) and Regimental Sergeant Majors (RSMs) of all NAF Units including tri-service institutions held at Headquarters, NAF Abuja.
The statement said that the CAS stated that the meeting was aimed at enabling the Senior Non-Commissioned Officers to have a robust and frank discussion with the highest echelon of the service on issues affecting the Service for enhanced operational efficiency.
According to the statement, while noting that in as much as it remained their inalienable rights to vote for whosoever they choose, they should not be seen to be directly engaged or involved in any form of political campaigns or activities.
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The CAS further stated that the NAF had recorded significant successes in the fight against insurgency and terrorism in various theatres of operation across the country, which he attributed to the sacrifices of personnel at the front lines and the commitment of the Federal Government in equipping the service.
While reminding them of their role as the link between the officers’ cadre and other ranks, Air Marshal Amao stated that the NAF was expecting the delivery of additional platforms to complement existing ones which he said would improve the capability of the service in the ongoing counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations.
He enjoined the personnel to continue to provide necessary feedback to their various commanders with a view to enhancing policy implementation as well as consolidating on the advancement of the service.
According to the statement, “on cases of indiscipline occasioned by Absent without Leave (AWOL) and desertions, the CAS advised the AWOs and RSMs to caution their personnel to follow the laid down rules and regulations as to separation from service as specified in the Terms and Conditions of Service (TACOS).”
While maintaining that the NAF would not deny any personnel his or her right to separation as long as it was in accordance with the TACOS, it would also not hesitate to take appropriate disciplinary measures against such personnel no matter how long it takes irrespective of how long it takes.
It added that CAS while speakership On welfare of personnel assured them that the NAF would not relent in ensuring that all personnel are properly accommodated, medically attended to and provided with needed resources to do their jobs effectively while their various entitlements would continue to be given to them as at when due.
The meeting, which had about nine AWOs and 120 RSMs in attendance, afforded the attendees the opportunity to brief the CAS on their activities and the challenges in their various commands and units. During the interactive session, they also had the opportunity of asking questions, making useful contributions and comments on how to move the service forward to perform its constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of the country.