Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, the Chief of the Air Staff, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to settle its outstanding bills to facilitate the Nigerian Air Force’s assistance in airlifting materials for the upcoming Saturday’s bye-elections.
Abubakar’s request came in response to INEC’s plea for the Air Force’s support in transporting sensitive materials for the upcoming bye-elections during a visit by INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, in Abuja.
According to The PUNCH, Abubakar emphasized the need for settlement of outstanding bills during the visit, where Yakubu sought NAF’s support for the February 3 rerun and bye-elections.
INEC is scheduled to conduct by-elections and re-runs in 26 states across the country on Saturday. Yakubu highlighted the challenges of deploying election materials, particularly in the North-East, South-East, and South-West geo-political zones, prompting the request for NAF’s assistance.
Yakubu expressed, “In handling such a significant national assignment, the commission cannot do it alone. That is why we seek to mobilize every national asset, including NAF.”
In response, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar acknowledged the NAF’s historical collaboration with INEC in providing security and swift airlifts for both sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials nationwide.
Abubakar emphasized the crucial role of security and logistics in the successful conduct of elections, reassuring INEC of NAF’s readiness to continue supporting them. He added, “I assure you that we remain willing, able, and ready to continue supporting INEC as we have always done in the past.”
While stating that some C-130s are currently undergoing maintenance, Abubakar mentioned alternative aircraft available for transporting sensitive materials. However, he highlighted the necessity of settling outstanding bills for INEC to receive optimal support, saying, “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.”