Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Ahead of Saturday’s governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has stated that it deployed aircraft to convey electoral materials for the election and locations it considered flashpoints.
NAF yesterday said that between February 12 and March 3, 2019, it airlifted a total of 633,790 kilogrammes of electoral materials to 31 different locations across the country.
Speaking at a meeting with Air Officers Commanding (AOCs) and field commanders in Abuja, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said eight NAF aircraft were deployed in the airlift operation, flying a total of about 340 hours in 257 sorties with about 120 crew members involved, comprising pilots, technicians and other specialties operating on a round-the-clock basis.
He said it was part of its constitutional role of providing aid to civil authority and efforts to assist the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Abubakar noted that contingency plans were emplaced in case of any breakdown of law and order while NAF hospitals and medical centres have been put on alert to assist in attending to any medical emergencies.
The CAS emphasised that the responsibility of commanders was to ensure security of lives and property of Nigerians.
He noted that no excuse would be tolerated for any failure in this regard.
He also reminded AOCs that they must ensure that all NAF personnel remain professional in the discharge of their duties, while ensuring that no individual or group of individuals is allowed to undermine the electoral process. He stressed that NAF personnel must endeavour to operate in accordance with the Code of Conduct promulgated by Defence Headquarters (DHQ) for members of the Armed Forces during elections.
“In line with the directives of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Olonisakin, to all services on the need to ensure peaceful conduct of the forthcoming gubernatorial and states Houses of Assembly elections.
“The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has directed Air Officers Commanding (AOCs) and field commanders to ensure safety of lives and properties in their various locations.
“They must sternly resist any entreaties by unscrupulous politicians to get involved in partisan politics.
“Air Marshal Abubakar therefore urged all eligible voters to come out en-masse to vote for the candidates of their choice,” NAF said in a statement.