Decent accommodation for military personnel has been a long standing challenge but, there seems to be a sigh of relief after the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) attained 68 per cent accommodation sufficiency. TARKAA DAVID writes.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, with the vision to provide for the welfare of personnel and their families for enhanced performance upon assumption of office as the 20th CAS, embarked on mass construction of housing units and other projects.
These projects are not just targeted at senior officers but families and dependents of non-commissioned officers who are considered to be the backbone of the service.
Speaking during the commissioning of additional blocks of 10- one bedroom furnished accommodation for single officers at 551 NAF Station Jos, Plateau State, the Chief of the Air Staff, CAS Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said the project was aimed at promoting the well-being of staff to enable them focus on their duties and contribute in adding value to the service.
He said the service would not stop ensuring that every personnel is suitably domiciled for increased efficiency.
He reiterated the need for all personnel to be wary of the fact that the task of nation building is a conjoint responsibility even as the nation currently faces different security burdens.
He added that one of the overriding constitutional responsibilities of the NAF is the protection of lives and property of all Nigerians, not minding their political or religious inclinations.
In his remarks, Air Commodore Kabiru Aliyu, said the newly commissioned project, which would further reduce the problem of accommodation on the base, would not have been possible without the devotedness, wisdom and backing of the CAS.
Other projects completed on the plateau include, the Group Headquarters Complex of the newly established 205 Combat Search and Rescue Group (CSARG), a block of 10 one-bedroom accommodation for Non-Commissioned Officers and a block of six one-bedroom Single Officers’ Quarters.
Others are the Commodore’s Official Residence and 4×2- bedroom residential accommodation for Senior Non-Commissioned Officers serving in the unit.
The drive of the current NAF leadership to increase accommodation sufficiency for personnel, especially those serving in the North-east, received a boost with additional two furnished blocks of 6 x one-bedroom flats of single officers’ accommodation at the NAF Base, Bauchi.
Speaking during the commissioning, the CAS, who was represented by the chief of Administration, Headquarters NAF, Air Vice Marshal Kingsley Lar, stated that the project was geared towards enhancing the welfare of personnel to enable them to focus on their duties and contribute more meaningfully in adding value to the Service.
The CAS enjoined the beneficiaries to make the best use of the facilities and also ensure its proper maintenance at all times.
Air Marshal Abubakar thanked the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, for the continued support that had enabled the NAF record numerous remarkable feats within the past three years.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commander, 251 Base Services Group, Bauchi, Group Captain Mohammed Aliyu, expressed appreciation to the CAS, under whose visionary leadership, the NAF has been soaring to greater heights.
He said the newly commissioned project would further reduce the burden of accommodation on the base.
A statement by the director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, recalled that the NAF had, in July 2018, also commissioned two blocks of Commanders’ Quarters, one block of 6 x 2 bedroom Married Senior Non-Commissioned Officers’ (NCOs) Quarters, one block of 10 x single room NCOs’ accommodation in NAF Base, Bauchi to boost the morale of troops engaged in the counter-terrorism operations in the North East and other internal security operations across the country.
In a related development, the NAF leadership also commissioned three new blocks of 10 by single-bedroom transit residential accommodation for airmen/airwomen at 303 Medium Airlift Group (303 MAG), NAF Base, Ilorin, Kwara State.
The director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said the newly constructed residential quarters were constructed to provide conducive environment for airmen/airwomen for efficient and effective service delivery to the nation.
Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, the CAS, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who was represented by the Chief of Administration (COA), Headquarters NAF, Air Vice Marshal Kingsley Lar, reiterated the commitment of the current NAF leadership to enhancing the welfare of personnel to enable them perform their statutory roles more effectively. He said the construction of the new quarters became necessary following the desire of the force to provide very conducive environment and ensure better living conditions for personnel and their families.
The CAS enjoined beneficiaries of the new buildings to make sure that the facilities are properly maintained.
Earlier in his remarks, the Commander, 303 MAG, Group Captain Patrick Obeya, thanked the CAS for providing additional residential accommodation for NAF personnel in Ilorin.
He noted that the gesture would motivate the personnel for better performance and commitment to their duties while enhancing command and control, and improving the Unit’s ability to respond to threats and emergencies
The CAS, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who restated his commitment to ensuring the wellbeing of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) personnel and their families, said a motivated personnel is critical to operational effectiveness.
In line with this, the CAS, on October 31, 2018, commissioned block of 10 units of one-bedroom flats for single officers at the 107 Air Maritime Group (107 AMG), Shittu Alao Air Force Base, Benin. The CAS, who was represented by the Chief of Administration, Headquarters NAF, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Kingsley Lar, said humans are the most critical element in ensuring operational effectiveness.
In a statement by the director, public relations and information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, he said, owing to such importance in his quest to reposition the service into a highly professional and disciplined force for effective and efficient employment of air power, he had focused so much attention on enhancing the welfare of personnel.
“The service embarked on an ambitious programme of infrastructural development entailing the emplacement of befitting office and residential accommodation as well as the establishment of new schools and hospitals in NAF Bases across the country, while at the same time sustaining the quality of education and healthcare services in the existing ones,” he said
The CAS noted that the objective was to ensure that the personnel, to man the equipment and platforms, acquired for the NAF by the federal government, are not only properly trained but also well motivated to employ them for maximum operational efficiency.
The CAS charged the personnel to reciprocate the gesture by redoubling their efforts in the performance of their duties.
He pledged the commitment of the Service to safeguarding the nation and its citizens.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command, AVM Oladayo Amao, expressed gratitude to the CAS for his tireless efforts at creating conducive work and home environments for NAF personnel.
He noted that the gesture had no doubt boosted the morale of the personnel in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities.
He particularly thanked the CAS for considering 107 AMG twice in the space of one year to benefit from infrastructural projects and promised that personnel of the Unit would properly maintain the accommodation.
As a result of the unrelenting commitment and efforts under the leadership of Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar in just three and half years, the Nigerian Air Force has attained 68 per cent accommodation sufficiency for the personnel.
He, however, noted that as at December 2018, accommodation sufficiency in the NAF had increased to 65 per cent with an additional three per cent of personnel receiving lodging allowances.
The CAS noted further that the 68 per cent accommodation sufficiency rate recorded within three and half years was achieved despite the fact that an unprecedented number of personnel, over 7,500 airmen/airwomen and 400 officers, had been recruited into the NAF within the period.