The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has explained the rationale behind the tradition of having lunch with frontline troops during festivities.
He revealed that this was borne out of the need to strengthen the bond of comradeship, foster esprit-de-corps, and create a more relaxed atmosphere for troops to unwind while remaining geared up to face the tasks ahead.
Abubakar gave the explanation on Saturday at the luncheon organised by the Nigerian Air Force to celebrate the Eid-El-Kabir with frontline troops in Katsina State.
He noted that the luncheons also served as avenues to celebrate and appreciate the hard work, dedication, resilience, and patriotism of the personnel, as well as convey his support for the smooth and timely execution of their assigned missions.
The air force boss remembered the sacrifices of all those who had paid the supreme price in service to the nation.
He prayed that God would grant their families comfort, giving an assurance that the Force would continue to acknowledge their efforts with gestures like the Group Life Insurance and other incentives.
“For the serving gallant personnel that you are, we will continue to provide necessary tools to enhance your precise and effective prosecution of operations such as infrastructure, modern equipment, communication, vehicles, personal protective equipment, and so on,” Abubakar promised.
He, therefore, asked the personnel of the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji not to relent in their efforts but to press on until acts of banditry, kidnapping, and other forms of criminality were brought to an end.
The air force chief urged them to maintain control of the operational space and exploit every intelligence resource.
He said, “We must continue to remain focused by maintaining the highest level of vigilance and combat readiness that the NAF is known for in order to rid our communities of criminal elements.”
The Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, who was the guest of honour at the luncheon, commended the NAF personnel for their substantial sacrifices in the fight against armed banditry.
As part of measures to secure the lives and properties of residents, he revealed that the government has initiated an action to amend extant laws with a view to enhancing the authority of village heads and local authorities to bring real governance and policing closer to the people.
The governor noted that this would complement ongoing efforts to emplace a robust community policing structure while addressing the gross deficit in the number of police personnel available at local levels which he said was in the range of an average of about 30 policemen to about 100 villages.
He stressed that if such actions were not taken and even if the bandits were wiped out by the military, another generation of criminal elements would quickly take their place in the absence of governance and adequate policing.
Governor Masari assured the air force that his government would continue to support all its operations and other security agencies to ensure the peace and security of the people of the state.