The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, on Monday, asked the Independent National Electoral Commission to pay its outstanding bills so the Air Force could help to airlift materials for Saturday’s by-elections.
Abubakar was responding to the request by INEC for the Air Force to help it airlift sensitive materials for Saturday’s bye-elections.
According to The PUNCH, Abubakar made the demand during a visit to him in Abuja by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to seek the support of NAF ahead of the February 3 rerun/by-elections.
INEC will conduct by-elections and re-runs in 26 states of the federation on Saturday.
The INEC Chairman had noted that the deployment of election materials was a huge task, hence, the need to seek the support of the air force to deliver election materials to three locations in the North-East, South-East and the South-West geo-political zones of the country.
He stated, “In handling such a huge national assignment, the commission cannot do it alone. That is why we seek to mobilise every national asset, including NAF.
In response, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar stated that the NAF had been INEC’s dependable partner in providing security in addition to rapid airlift and distribution of sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials across the country.
He said, “The successful conduct of elections is largely hinged on robust security and well-choreographed logistics supply chain management.
“The Nigerian Air Force has been INEC’s dependable partner in providing security in addition to rapid airlift for the distribution of sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials across the country.
“I assure you that we remain willing able and ready to continue supporting INEC as we have always done in the past.”
Giving more details, the Air Marshal said, “At the moment, our C-130s are currently undergoing maintenance but we have other aircraft that can be employed to move sensitive materials.
“The caveat is that we need to move those materials a little earlier due to the capacity of the airplanes that we have available.
“I would like to seize this opportunity to remind the chairman that there are some outstanding bills which are yet to be cleared by INEC. The settlement of those bills will enable us to serve you better.”