The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, has inaugurated welfare flight for troops of Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK) who are proceeding on pass to and fro the theatre of operations.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, in a statement on Tuesday, said the inaugural flight was part of COAS’ efforts to cater for the welfare of troops and boost their morale.
While performing the symbolic ceremony at the Nigerian Air Force Base Maiduguri, on Monday, Yahaya said that troops’ welfare was one of his cardinal focus for the Nigerian Army.
He said it was in that regard that the initiative was birthed in order to ease the movement of personnel of OPHK.
He said the initiative was aimed at addressing problems such as distance and other associated challenges, while proceeding on pass to see their families and loved ones.
The COAS said the ongoing joint operations in the theatre had further strengthened the synergy between the services and other security agencies.
This, according to him, informed the decision of Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, to provide the Nigerian Air Force Charlie-130 aircraft to airlift troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN).
He added that personnel of other security agencies, as well as civilian staff of the AFN would also benefit from the arrangement when on pass from Maiduguri to other parts of the country.
According to him, the flight will be twice a month to meet the two weeks duration of leave passes in the theatre.
He added that personnel leaving on pass would be granted two weeks.
The COAS further directed that all security measures be strictly adhered to, as troops will be thoroughly searched, cleared and documented before boarding the flight.
He urged all troops to utilise the opportunity to promote synergy amongst all the services and security agencies in the theatre, in order to achieve success in ongoing and future operations.
Yahaya thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his guidance, directions and the confidence reposed in the AFN.
He also pledged his unalloyed loyalty and commitment to defending the constitution of the country.
He also extended his appreciation to the Minister of Defence, retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, and other service chiefs for their support and collaboration.
Earlier, the Chief of Operations (Army), Maj.-Gen. Olufemi Akinjobi, said the welfare flight had been scheduled to cover three main hubs, namely Lagos, Abuja and Maiduguri.
According to Akinjobi, troops from Lagos will be housed and managed at Ikeja Cantonment, while those in Abuja will be at the Nigerian Army Forward Operational Base and those in Maiduguri will be at the Headquarters Theatre Command.