By Abdallah el-Kurebe, Editor
The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika has asked the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other agencies in the sector to incorporate policies and activities that show appreciation of both the serving and retired military personnel in Nigeria.
A statement by the Deputy Director, Media & Public Affairs, James Odaudu issued and made available to Newsdiaryonline Wednesday said the Minister then directed that priority be given to them during check-ins and flight boarding as obtained in most developed nations of the world.
Sirika who gave the directive when members of Defence Headquarters Committee for Sensitisation Strategy on Public Appreciation of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, visited him in his office, also directed that special messages appreciating the sacrifices and achievements of the Military should be included in flight announcements at intervals.
He said that the military deserved to be appreciated for their sacrifices in ensuring the security and safety of the country and its citizens, emphasizing that the nation’s armed forces had done extremely well in ensuring that Nigeria remained a united and indivisible entity.
He said that Nigerians must appreciate the armed forces for their roles in the peace-keeping efforts in West African sub-region and other parts of the world, adding that the military was one institution where the oneness of Nigeria was displayed.
“In addition, in all our parastatals, there should be banners to appreciate the military and we will also have those banners in our airports to be located in strategic places where everybody can see.
“Certainly, the Nigerian military have done tremendously not for Nigeria but for the sub-region where we operate and for the world. In all the peace keeping mission that Nigerian military has gone to, they were well appreciated because they always come top and they performed excellently well,’’ he said.
The minister also pledged to produce stickers with the permission of the military authority to appreciate the armed forces for their sacrifices to the nation.
Earlier, Air Vice Marshall Jomo Osahor, Chairman of the committee, said the visit was to solicit for support from aviation industry to sensitise the public on the need to appreciate Nigerian armed forces.
Osahor said the committee was set up by the Chief of Defence Staff, to develop strategies to sensitise the public on how the members of the armed forces could be appreciated for their sacrifices and commitment to the service of the nation.
He said that the committee came up with the plan to request from the management of the airports, through the minister to incorporate a message of appreciation to the military into its flight announcements and other media available to them.
The Committee’s assignment, according to Osahor, was in line with the theme for the 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day which was, ‘’Appreciating the Armed Forces of Nigeria.’’
“We are all aware that announcements are regularly made at the airports either to inform you of boarding, delays and cancellations. It was agreed that we request the minister and the appropriate authorities to use this medium to also announce to the public on the need to appreciate the armed forces of Nigeria.”
“You are all aware of the sacrifices that the armed forces are making in keeping the peace, protecting our territorial integrity. Some have lost their lives in the process and now you have so many widows and we think that the little we can do is to appreciate these members of the armed forces.”
“In America, when you want to board an aircraft in most times, preference is given to the members of their military to board but we have not gotten there yet. We want you to help us sensitise Nigerians because you have the medium,’’ he said.
AVM Osahor was accompanied by other members of the Committee, including Major General Soleye, Real Admiral Kayoda, Brigadier General Agbim, the Director Defence Information, and Navy Captain, the Committee’s Secretary.