By Doris Esa
#TrackNigeria: Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on Friday, advised field commanders of the Nigerian Air Force to remain apolitical, especially in the forthcoming general elections.
Abubakar gave the advice when he met with the commanders in Abuja, on their role during the elections.
He said that it was imperative that NAF, as a military institution, did not belong to any political party.
“It is important to stress that as a military institution, the NAF is apolitical; we do not belong to any political party.
“However, we are entitled to go and cast our votes and elect whoever you want to but, I want to stress again that we are apolitical.
“We do not belong to any political party.
“However, our task as clearly spelt out by the Constitution of Nigeria is to ensure that there is security and people are free to go about their businesses, whether during or after the election.
“So, I want to draw our attention and the attention of Air officers’ commanders to operate within the provisions of the Constitution.
“You have no business participating in any political activity other than to just go in a civil dress, join the queue, cast your votes and go back to the barracks as simple as that,” Abubakar said.
The air chief stressed that it was also important that field commanders must have contingency plans to ensure adequate security during the elections.
According to him, security of Nigeria is very important for this process to enable us to have credible, free and fair elections.
Abubakar noted that the lead agency in terms of providing elections security was the Police and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
He explained that members of the Armed Forces were not directly involved in the activities of providing security during the elections.
“However, should the need arises for us to support the lead agencies that are tasked to support INEC; we must be in position to really provide that support.
“You should be far away from polling booths and remain in our barracks ready to support the police should the need arise,” he said.
Abubakar said that flying units must ensure that the C-130 aircraft was serviceable and available should the NAF be required by INEC to convey materials to where they would be needed.
“Our air assets are available on request if INEC needs us to do that; we are ready. You must ensure that our air planes are serviceable, particularly the C130.
“For those that are within the riverside areas, should they require helicopter airlift, please be prepared to support them; but, they have to request and even if you are involved in that, your own is just to fly the aircraft.
“You have no business with what they are carrying, except for safety. You have to ensure that the items are arranged properly and conveyed.
“Once you are done, you bring out what is in the aircraft and you have finished your own and you can go.
“Our conduct before the election, during and after elections is very important; we must conduct ourselves as professionals and like I said, we have no business in the political space other than to go and vote,” Abubakar stressed. (NAN)