As part of continued efforts geared towards improving the welfare of personnel of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) for effective and efficient service delivery, the Minister of Defence, Major General Sale Magashi, on Thursday, December 20, 2019, commissioned four newly built blocks of flats.
The flats comprising of a block of 20 x 1 Senior Non-commissioned Officers (SNCOs) accommodation, two blocks of 10 x one-bedroom Single Officers Quarters and a block of 6 x 3 Married Officers Quarters at the NAF Base, Bill Clinton Drive, Abuja, were built with the aim of sustaining and improving the welfare of the personnel, and to also serve as a motivation to other personnel in the NAF.
The six flats of three bedrooms for married officers was named after Squadron Leader Nassar Abdullah who died in an air crash on 15 October 1990, while the 20 x one-bedroom flats for SNCOs was named after Warrant Officer Ogunlade Olorunyomi who died on December 12, 2013.
Speaking during the commissioning, the Minister of Defence (MOD) Major General Magashi, stated that the current administration embarked upon these projects, not only to improve accommodation sufficiency beyond the 70 per cent level recorded at the beginning of 2019, but also, to make the buildings more conducive for personnel and their families.
He urged the NAF to sustain its efforts to improve welfare-boosting projects as a way to further motivating personnel who are on duty away from their families, to be more efficient and effective in the performance of their duties while for the families of the fallen heroes to be well sheltered and taken care of by the NAF administration.
In his words, “My Ministry will consolidate on this laudable gesture by supporting the Nigerian Air Force in carrying out its operations especially in the fight against terrorism and insurgency. The ministry will also do its best in supporting the Air Force in ensuring that all welfare challenges are given the right priority and speedily addressed”.
He used the medium to assure Nigerians that the fight against insurgency in the North East will soon become history, adding that normalcy has since been returned to almost all parts of the North East.
For his part, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, stated that prior to July 2015, records in the Administration Branch indicated that NAF had 45 per cent sufficiency of accommodation for personnel, however, as at December 2018, accommodation sufficiency in the NAF had increased to 70 percent with an additional 3 percent of personnel receiving lodging allowances.
The CAS stated that the 70 per cent accommodation sufficiency rate recorded within three and a 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 these period.
Air Marshal Abubakar while noting that the momentum of infrastructural development would be sustained to ensure that personnel are adequately accommodated in order to be more effective in the discharge of their duties, urged the beneficiaries of the accommodations to put them to good use whilst ensuring the buildings are properly maintained.
Speaking to The Sight News, a beneficiary, Wing Commander Harry Gumut,expressed gratitude to the present NAF Administration, the Minister of Defence and Chief of the Air Staff, for making the welfare of personnel a top priority, adding that being a beneficiary gives him great confidence in the discharge of his duties within and away from his family.