By G9ija

The Minister of Defence, Retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, has expressed the readiness of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to provide air support to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the elections.

He said this on Wednesday at the Roll-Out Ceremony of C-130 Hercules Aircraft NAF 918 at 631 Aircraft Maintenance Depot, NAF Base, Ikeja.

Magashi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence, Mr Ibrahim Kana, spoke after the successful completion of in-country Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM).

He said the timely completion of the PDM was a commendable one which further demonstrated the quest for capacity development and self-reliance in equipment maintenance.

“It is also a credible example to show that the Armed Forces of Nigeria has enormous potentials for technical capacity development in-country if we look more inwards resourcefully.

“I specially recognise your preparations towards the forthcoming General Elections as exemplified by the timely completion of this Periodic Maintenance.

“This will boost your airlift capability to support the Independent National Electoral Commission,” he said.

The minister congratulated the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, officers, airmen and airwomen of the NAF for this initiative.

He said that the Federal Government appreciated all their efforts and immense contribution toward addressing terrorism, insurgency and other forms of security threats in the country.

“I am also aware of all your non-kinetic actions particularly in the various theatres of operations to win the hearts and minds of the populace.

“Let me reassure you that the Federal Government remains committed to the welfare and morale of personnel of the Armed Forces and their capacity development in the pursuit of their constitutional roles.

“We have also ensured the review of salaries and allowances for officers and have equally extended this gesture to the retired personnel,” the minister said.

Magashi said the government had placed orders for the acquisition of additional aircraft to boost Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance, ground attack, advanced jet training and combat multi-role helicopters.

“I, therefore, urge you all to reciprocate these gestures by remaining loyal, committed and ensuring safe operations and maintenance of your platforms, including the C-130H aircraft,” he said. (NAN)