Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The federal government yesterday charged newly promoted senior officers of the Nigerian Air Force to evolve new strategies to contain security challenges in the country.
A total of 31 senior officers were promoted to the rank of Air Commodore while 16 others were elevated to the rank of Air Vice Marshal.
Speaking at the decoration ceremony held at the Nigerian Air Force Centre, Kado, Abuja, Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), charged the officers to evolve new strategies to contain the challenge of insecurity.
“These are difficult times for our nation and the military. We must therefore continue to evolve new strategies to contain these challenges in order to ensure safety and security of our citizens.
“The government and good people of Nigeria are expecting nothing short of professionalism from you as you discharge your constitutional responsibility,” he said.
The minister said it was the responsibility of the military officers to contain the ongoing fight against terrorism, banditry and all forms of criminality “as it is your mandate to preserve national security and territorial integrity. Hence, it is expected that with upliftment to the ranks of Air Commodore and Air Vice Marshal you will continue to rededicate yourselves to the service of a better Nigeria”.
The Defence minister said the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari remained committed to supporting the Nigerian military.
“The federal government is also poised to provide the services and indeed other security agencies with the required wherewithal in pursuance of their collective mandate of securing our dear nation,” he said.
In his remarks, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said with the promotion exercise, Nigeria Air Force enjoys a pool of manpower required to tackle security challenges facing the nation.
“I therefore enjoin you to see your promotion as the beginning of another phase of your career in the service and greater responsibilities.
“I am particularly elated because this ceremony is indicative that the Nigerian Air Force now has more strategic and analytical minds in our pool of manpower resource to bring to bear their knowledge and experience on how to tackle the security challenges facing the nation,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chief of Administration, Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal AG Pani, identified establishment vacancies as a major constraint to the promotion exercise.
“Several qualities and conditions are used to determine an officer’s eligibility for promotion. Merit is certainly top of the list of considerations. However, it does not mean that the officers that were not promoted are not fit, most especially at the higher ranks.
“The major constraint is that of establishment vacancies. We can only promote what the establishment and manning provision can conveniently accommodate. Therefore, those who have scaled these many hurdles and found themselves in the list of those approved to wear the one and two stars general rank surely have reasons to celebrate,” he said.