By Yahaya Isah
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, has approved the establishment of the office of Ombudsman, to empower stakeholders to channel their complaints and grievances against the service and seek redress.
The Director, Public Relations and Information, NAF Headquarters, Air Cdr. Edward Gabkwet, disclosed this in a statement on Friday, in Abuja.
According to Gabkwet, the office, which would be tasked with the responsibility of also addressing complaints by NAF serving personnel, will operate as an independent mechanism that will provide an objective and compassionate channel for seeking redress.
In approving the establishment of the office, Amao took cognisance of the need to provide an avenue for NAF serving personnel and those outside the service, to ventilate their grievances against the service, for immediate resolution.
The director explained that the CAS gave the approval with the strong belief that putting in place appropriate mechanisms for redress would ensure harmonious relationship, substantially reduce possibilities of disaffection, while improving trust and winning the confidence of the civil populace.
He added that such mechanism was also aimed at increasing motivation and promoting loyalty by serving NAF personnel.
Gabkwet recalled that since the establishment of NAF, its personnel had relied largely on the provisions of Executive Regulations, to channel their complaints for redress.
“While in some cases, complaints were referred first to immediate superiors, even when such complaints are against such superior officers.
“Also, many persons outside the service have, over time, found it difficult to channel their complaints and grievances to the service due to the absence of a distinct channel.
“The new office will no doubt provide an avenue to address such issues“, he said.
Gabkwet also recalled that in July, the CAS approved the establishment of the Directorate of Veteran Affairs in a bid to stimulate better welfare packages for NAF veterans and their families.
“The Directorate is, among other responsibilities, charged with interfacing with similar structures in sister services to harness necessary benefits for NAF retirees, under existing Federal Government programmes for veterans.”
The director noted that all these efforts were in tandem with Amao’s vision of enhancing and sustaining critical airpower capabilities required for joint force deployment in pursuit of national security imperatives.
Gabkwet added that the efforts were also ultimately aimed at restructuring and re-organising the service for better service delivery.