By Joy Odor
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao has approved the immediate establishment of the Directorate of Veteran Affairs in a bid to stimulate better welfare packages for Nigerian Air Force (NAF) veterans and their families.
The new Directorate, domiciled under the Administration Branch, would be responsible for interfacing with similar structures in sister Services towards harnessing necessary benefits for NAF retirees under existing Federal Government programmes for veterans, among other responsibilities.
The CAS disclosed this while declaring open a 2-day Conference for NAF Administrative and Medical personnel and made available to newsmen in a press statement in Abuja by the Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet on Friday.
The Conference with the theme, “Efficient Human Resource Management: Panacea for Bolstering Morale and Improving Personnel Welfare”, attracted seasoned and erudite resource persons with vast knowledge in human resource management as well as experts in the field of medicine.
In his opening remarks, Air Marshal Amao noted that the NAF considers the state of physical and mental well-being of its personnel, which he described as an important factor in the sustenance of morale, as a force multiplier in ensuring operational effectiveness.
He also pointed out that the Conference was one in a series of conferences aimed at refocusing operational capabilities and bolstering personnel morale.
He emphasized that the strength of any armed Service is not determined by the strength of its arsenal, but also by the professionalism of its workforce, which is largely bolstered through robust human resource management.
According to him, in the last 2 months, the NAF had launched the Telemedicine portal to ensure access to prompt medical attention, whilst promoting confidence in NAF medical services for enhanced morale and productivity of personnel.
He stated that the outcome of such innovations would stimulate NAF human resource management efforts to be at par with global organizational standards and best practices.
Air Marshal Amao challenged participants to critically assess areas where the NAF was lacking as regards personnel welfare and administration and come up with workable solutions to mitigate effects on the Service’s operational capabilities.
“As a highly technical Service that deals with sophisticated aircraft, equipment and military hardware, maintaining a highly skilled, efficient, healthy and motivated workforce should be the hallmark of our daily activities.
To this end, we will continue to epitomize best human resource management practices to promote our operational effectiveness”, he said.
While expressing the profound gratitude of the NAF to President Muhammadu Buhari, for his unwavering and continued support, the CAS assured of NAF’s commitment to the successful execution of constitutional roles for a peaceful and united Nigeria.
Earlier, the Air Secretary, Air Vice Marshal Mahmud Madi had stated that the timing for the conference was apt, considering the strategic importance of the human resource in achieving organizational goals and objectives.
He also stated that the NAF has invested hugely in human capacity development and personnel welfare in recent years which has translated to tangible gains in NAF operational conducts.
In the same vein, the Chief of Medical Services, Air Commodore Olabode Babalola revealed the desire of the CAS to ensure that the NAF Medical Services measure up to the global best practice.
According to him, the CAS’ approval of the Medical Conference is a further attestation of his willingness to improve healthcare delivery in the NAF.
During the 2-day Conference, 4 papers were presented by seasoned and experienced human resource managers and medical practitioners.
Papers relevant to administrative management presented included, “Human Resource Management and Administrative Service Delivery in NAF”, delivered by Air Vice Marshal Ibrahim Kure (Rtd) and “Human Resource Management Development: A vital Tool for Achieving Organizational Goals”, delivered by Dr (Mrs) Boma Akhiojemi.
Papers relevant to the medical field delivered included, “Telemedicine and its Prospects in the NAF by Dr (Mrs) Funmi Adewara and “Drug Abuse and Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder” delivered by Air Commodore Bashir Yakassai (Rtd).
Participants for the Conference were drawn from all NAF units nationwide.