The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, on Tuesday urged commanders of the force to adopt advocacy, diplomacy and tact with host communities in the fight against insurgency.
Amosu gave the advice in Abuja at the “Commanders’ Retreat’’ as part of activities marking the 50th Anniversary of the Nigerian Air Force.
He said “it is apparent the challenges of insurgency and terrorism are in the country and may not be easy to eliminate if the hearts and minds of host communities are not won’’.
“Advocacy, diplomacy and adoption of tact in the way we relate with our host communities would assist in no small measure in understanding the dynamics of your environment.
“This will assist us in winning the war since we cannot rule out the cooperation of the local populace if we must be on top of the war against insurgency and terrorism.
“I expect each commander to sit with officers and come up with innovations on the way of achieving this.”
The Chief of Air staff said that strategies for implementation of the community relations should be channeled to the Air Force Headquarters for consideration and approval and adoption.
Amosu explained that the security challenges in the North-East and North-Central areas called for more dedication of troops.
He said that a lot of emphasis should be laid on credible intelligence as the NAF was working in collaboration with other security agencies.
The Air Chief said that troops, when deployed for Internal Security (IS) duties to the critical areas, must have sufficient number in each patrol team, with sufficient fire power to “self-protect’’ should the need arise.
“However, caution should be observed as there abound many reported cases of excessive use of forces on civilian populace.
“I expect that by now, each personnel on IS duty would have in his pocket a little aid-memoir on code of conduct and do’s and don’ts for IS duties.’’
Amosu also cautioned the officers against being used by any party to perpetrate electoral fraud or offences as 2015 elections drew close.
He advised commanders to explain in details the guidelines for elections to all officers and men under their commands during training days.
“You are to refresh them thoroughly on the code of conduct of the military during elections while remaining subordinated to civil authority.
“I urge you and the personnel of your units to remain apolitical in our association with all political parties and/or entities,’’ Amosu added.
“Finally, I charge you all to take the trust you hold with all seriousness required of you by working very hard to project the image of the NAF in the best light.’’
Earlier, the Chief of Administration of the NAF, AVM Christian Chukwu, said that the retreat was a forum for the commanders to appraise their efforts on the job.
According to him, the retreat is also meant to refresh the commanders on the essentials of unit administration, so that the attainment of NAF set goals and objectives can be made clearer. (NAN)